Saturday, April 21, 2012

I volunteer!

For several weeks now I've been trying to determine what appeals to me so much about the Hunger Games.  I vehemently despise being amongst the throngs of the general population throwing themselves into the hype of something that is only popular for a little while.  Twilight franchise anyone??  However I went to see the newly released movie a few weeks ago and have been intrigued to read the book(s) ever since.
As fate would (or would not) have it I came down with pneumonia this past week.  The best thing I could do for myself was literally step back and let my parents help with Molly and the dogs so that I could rest and give my body time to heal.  Fortunately, I splurged on myself about a month ago and got a Kindle Fire.  Molly thinks it's also for her of course!  It occurred to me while I was laying in bed that I had not yet acted upon my idea to read the Hunger Games.  I was very happy to discover that Amazon sold the entire trilogy electronically!  $20.00 later I was reading like an absolute fiend and finished all three books in two days.
There were many things I took away from reading this series for the first time.  However, in an effort to refrain from spoiling the story for those who have not read it, I wanted to blog about my response to one of the very first scenes in the book and the movie.  This scene is also shown in the movie preview so hopefully it's spoiler safe to share!
The Hunger Games, in and of themselves, are ceremonies of sacrifice.  An entirely random selection, called the "reaping," pulls a teenage girl and boy from their established, "district," to fight to the death in the televised Hunger Games arena.  Your age and amount of assistance from the government, i.e. food, determine how many times your name is submitted in the drawing for the reaping.
Katniss, the female lead, spends a great deal of time assuring her younger sister, Primrose (Prim for short), at the beginning of the story that Prim's name will not be picked.  Due to Prim's first eligible year in the drawing, in addition to Katniss's unrelenting efforts regarding food for her whole family, Prim's name is only in there one time.
Being the random selection that it is Primrose's name is still the one pulled from the reaping.  In a matter of moments Katniss realizes what has happened and what will happen to her little sister should those events continue to unfold.  I'm glad I also read the book in addition to watching the movie in that the book brings so much more depth to the inner struggle with Katniss; thoughts and actions that could never represent themselves effectively on screen.  In an emotion-filled act of desperation Katniss pushes her way through the guards, called Peacekeepers of all things, and screams her intent to volunteer in her sister's place.
I wrote a blog, very similar in nature to this one, back in 2006 that compared a scene in the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to my relationship with my sisters.  Re-reading that post makes the purpose of this current one even more profound to me.
What immediately hit my heart like a ton of bricks is the situation that now surrounds my youngest sister, Kat.  This cancer.  This sarcoma attacking her body feels to me a bit like the reaping of the Hunger Games.   The random selection of these children; sent to sacrifice themselves.  The random agenda of this thing, this incredibly ugly thing called cancer; how it has no pattern of selection.  I want more than anything to push through a figurative barrier of guards to scream, "I volunteer!" in place of Kat.  I want to take this away from her and send myself in her stead.
Upon the return of my "escape" to the fictional reality of the Hunger Games I find myself in the actual reality of life.  
I cannot push past the guards of cancer.  
Screaming at the top of my lungs, "I volunteer!" cannot happen.  
This has happened to my sister alone.  
Kat is well aware of the support system that surrounds her on a daily basis.  I am so humbled and so proud of the strength, determination and stamina she continues to demonstrate in an effort to beat this cancer plaguing her body.  She astounds and inspires me. I love her so much.
I will continue to do my best to love her and support her in the best ways I know how. To quote the ending of the blog post I previously mentioned, "I love my sisters with a love that I think only siblings can understand.  And I would do anything for them."
Melody, Erin and Kat.  Your big sister adores you.  I wish I could, "volunteer," myself in your stead from any unpleasantness.  You mean the absolute world to me.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Our "Town By the Sea"

I've found myself thinking of the life Molly and I had to say goodbye to in WA almost six months ago... Can it really be six months already?! Thanks to networking opportunities like Facebook I'm able to experience the lives and adventures of my friends still living there. The pain of being gone still hurts terribly; especially knowing that Molly and I can no longer share those experiences. At least not for the time being.
While we lived there we became huge fans of the local library in Port Orchard. It was a small building, right next to the Sound, that offered amazing resources and programs for children. I'm willing to bet that it was nowhere close to being as technologically advanced as many libraries are today. Nevertheless Molly and I greatly enjoyed every story time, each visit to return and borrow books, and whatever else we tried there.
Molly grew to love all sorts of characters and authors. Fancy Nancy, Eric Carle, etc... There was one story in particular that she particularly latched onto especially during my parent's two week visit over a year ago. It is Robert Louis Stevenson's, Block City. She loves it so much that every time we visited Seattle she called it Block City and her Aunt Kat bought her a copy for Christmas! I've included script below:

What are you able to build with your blocks?
Castles and palaces, temples and docks.
Rain may keep raining, and others go roam,
But I can be happy and building at home.

Let the sofa be mountains, the carpet be sea,
There I'll establish a city for me:
A kirk and a mill and a palace beside,
And a harbour as well where my vessels may ride.

Great is the palace with pillar and wall,
A sort of a tower on the top of it all,
And steps coming down in an orderly way
To where my toy vessels lie safe in the bay.

This one is sailing and that one is moored:
Hark to the song of the sailors aboard!
And see, on the steps of my palace, the kings
Coming and going with presents and things!

Now I have done with it, down let it go!
All in a moment the town is laid low.
Block upon block lying scattered and free,
What is there left of my town by the sea?

Yet as I saw it, I see it again,
The kirk and the palace, the ships and the men,
And as long as I live and where'er I may be,
I'll always remember my town by the sea.


The parallels I draw from this story as I read it to Molly are uncanny. And, for the record, the miserable rain that others (who have never even lived in WA I might add) claim to haunt the Seattle area just simply isn't true.
Truly having just our personal talents, strengths and weaknesses at our disposal Molly and I used our, "blocks," and established a, "city," and life for ourselves; in just a matter of months. Though our little three bedroom rental was hardly a, "palace," we certainly had our fair share of kingly friends, "coming and going with presents and things."
Every time I read the words about vessels in the harbor I recall the love we had for taking the hour long state ferry ride to Seattle and back so many times.
It brings tears to my eyes to read, "Now I have done with it, down let it go! All in a moment the town is laid low." Remembering how abrupt the transitions were from feverishly trying to establish the means for staying to finally letting go and accepting the monumental move back to the south.
Though we are no longer there I do indeed see, "the kirk and the palace, the ships and the men." I see the images, their faces and deeply feel those relationships within my heart and soul.

We truly experienced an acceptance, adventures and a love that some people search for their entire lives. Molly and I will never forget.
And as long as I live and where'er I may be,
I'll always remember my town by the sea.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Big decisions

I'm writing this post with a heavy heart and nervous anticipation. I believe the time has come to officially announce to everyone the occurrence of inevitable events next month. Although no specific dates have been set Molly and I will be moving back to the east coast for the time being. We'll start out in Charlotte, NC with my family. After that, who knows? Employment and help with Molly are the two biggest concerns at the top of my life list. And when it comes to Molly's care I am a Mama bear. I simply cannot settle for any quality less than I can honestly provide for her.
For those I am leaving behind in WA my heart is breaking. I never could have anticipated the network of support that I have found with such dear friends in only one years time. Though I have high hopes of returning someday it doesn't bring comfort to the overwhelming feelings surrounding this goodbye. Molly and I love you all so much. We really look forward to seeing everyone whenever we're able to make it back for visiting or possibly returning to live one day in the future!
For those of you in the southeast it warms my heart that so many are excited to have us close again. I wish my emotions completely embraced this new life change. The reality is we'll both still have quite a process to work through in the coming days, weeks, months and years. Molly and I will need lots of hugs and copious amounts of grace. Just as much as we have a support system in the northwest I do have a sense of peace and comfort knowing all of the help that awaits us back in the south!
Again, no dates have been officially set in motion. I'll try to keep everyone as updated as possible. I ask for your encouraging thoughts and prayers as we embark on this new adventure. I truly feel like my heart resides in two different places 3,000 miles away from each other. There is no easy decision to make or road to take. I pray with all of my heart that this is the right one.