This blog follows how a romance novel set in the Borders of medieval Scotland is researched, written and hopefully *hopefully* published.

Join me on the writing journey and get inspired to try writing a little romance into your own life!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Tangent: Second Chances

Technically this is a real departure from what my intentions with this blog were, but there are moments when you're moved to say something. Apologies in advance for those who only breeze in here for romance and writing topics...

This weekend we were in my old "stomping grounds" trying to make the most of a weekend spent with my parents and brother. My son's 3rd birthday's coming up and with Mom's new cancer treatment looming large on the horizon, we decided now was the time to all get to that commercialized rat-trap--Chuck E. Cheeses. Not knowing what Mom's future may bring, I want her bolstered for whatever.

On the spur of the moment, my brother suggested we invite his godson and parents. They're nice folks, real salt-of-the-earth types. I like that. There's never any hidden agenda with them, just blatant honesty. We had last seen each other at the local "fair" last autumn so "catching up" with them was awkward at first. We made some small talk. The kids played some games and ate some pizza.

The mom started talking about the fact that this was her second marriage--she had married at 17 after 2 months of dating and stayed with the guy 10 years. She's made huge changes in her life since then. Married a second time (this time to a pal of my brother's), adopted a boy with him (right before he shipped out to serve in Afghanistan), gotten in shape and started making real friends in the area (she moved from the midwest almost a decade ago now). So she has made the most of her "second chance."

My mother survived a frightening problem with cancer in 2005. She lost a leg to a rapidly growing sarcoma--the same sort of thing that we believe killed her father when Mom was about my age and I was about the age my son is now--talk about a scary glimpse of mortality. We thought--no--we prayed that the loss of the leg was the end of it. Mom's a fiery redhead from down South and had always been very active. Hiking, canoeing-- a go-getter. My father and she were on the cusp of separation before this thing hit, but although it took her leg, it brought them much closer together. See, Dad's always needed to be somebody's hero and I think Mom was always just a little too strong for that before the cancer. So, their relationship solidified again, the focus turned back to family and she even returned to teaching. She was also granted a second chance and was making the most of it (of course now we need a third because there are tumors in her lungs).

So today, as I'm telling my husband we need to start to circle the wagons and leave Chuck E. Cheeses (I'm suddenly suffering stomach cramps and it's well past the kid's nap time anyway), our friend's cell phone rings. Frantically she starts pulling her son's coat on, getting her husband to gather their belongings and looking at us with utterly apologetic (and frightened) eyes. She closes the phone and quickly explains that her husband's stepsister has been in a car accident and they don't know if she's alive or dead. The husband's stunned, but he's a real trooper and he's been a soldier, so he's holding everybody together and heading towards the door. There are hugs and well-wishes and then they rush away.

My brother fills us in a little as we all wedge into a minivan that was dented up and nearly pushed off the road in Philly on Friday as my parents were returning from meeting new doctors. His friend's father remarried a woman who had a daughter from a previous relationship. She seems like a sweet kid, only 17, and my brother's only met her a few times at "family" events for his godson. She's one of his MySpace friends, but they aren't really close.

Back home he gets a phone call to update him. They stopped at the scene of the accident and the paramedic let it slip that the girl's dead and her friend was "life-lined" away from the scene. The girl was driving and a trash truck was speeding, or ran a stop sign (at this point things get foggy for me because my dad's quick to jump to the story of his wealthy boss, a trash truck and a Rolls Royce with a flattened front) and plowed into them, forcing them head-on into a telephone pole. We're all stunned. My brother hops onto MySpace. Tells me that her last post was regarding her New Year's resolutions. She was going to spend more time with family. Get closer to God. Forgive her biological father. We're even more stunned. She was going to try and turn her life around and now...

An closeted-optimist (because pessimism seems to go more suitably with single males of high intellect, I guess), my brother says, "Maybe we'll hear something different. Maybe the paramedic named the wrong one. Maybe the reason they haven't called again is because they're at the hospital and it's the other girl that's dead..." He certainly doesn't wish the other girl ill, of course, he's just hoping that if someone had to die it isn't his good friend's younger stepsister. So tonight we're hoping that somehow she, too, gets a second chance, and if hers is not meant to be, we're hoping that the other girl makes the most of the life that may yet remain for her...

So here's to making the most out of whatever life gives you and never squandering a second chance you may be granted by chance or circumstance.

Take care everyone!

Much love,
~Saoirse

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