Nothing is Wasted, Part Two.

I both love and hate that life circles in roundabouts. I love it because it seems that just as you had forgotten yesterday’s pain and struggle, and the strength that emerged to walk through that pain, you get a little reminder of what went down. You can see the balance of struggle and strength clearly this time, or at least a bit more clearly. I hate the roundabouts because there are too many cute, “put it on a piece of wood and hang it in your kitchen” quotes that come out of it. {I have those quotes in my house, so ‘hate’ is a side-eye-sarcasm here.} You’re able to see the “purpose in the pain” the “beauty for ashes” or that “nothing is wasted”.

Nothing is wasted is the least offensive positive spin for me and my personality. I don’t want to chin up just for positivity’s sake. I don’t want to be made an example of for the sake of learning something worthwhile. Life is hard enough without feeling like a pawn in the game of life, “here’s your purpose in the pain moment, Courtney! Good luck!”. It feels a bit like The Hunger Games to me. At least with “nothing is wasted” I can remind myself that ‘this too’ will be recycled. It’s a rhetoric game with me, for sure. Or maybe I’m just more ‘green’ than I thought and I actually like to recycle. Nevertheless, these sayings exist for a reason. They’re all true. Someone fought and came out the other side alive to tell the story.  Life does feel like a game and it really does feel like The Hunger Games more often than I would care to really talk about. And I know I’m not alone. Thank goodness.

I was picking Molly up from school the other day and I was running late because: living with a baby. As we were leaving the school, we shared the hallway with only one other mom and her daughter. Her therapist was also there, who happened to be Liam’s occupational therapist when he attended Fairview. I could see what was happening from a far way off. The school had cleared, which gave opportunity for a therapy lesson for this little girl, and she was not pleased about it. Her task after her classmates left for the morning was to walk down the hallway on her own. Not for her mom to carry her, but to walk down the hallway on her own. Not difficult, right? Wrong.

In what feels like nano-seconds, I assessed what was happening, smiled in my soul and on my face. Molly started to notice and asked questions: “Why is she crying? Why is she yelling? Why is she sitting on the ground? She needs help, mommy.”. I looked ahead to the mom and the therapist and smiled my knowing smile. The therapist and I caught eyes, and she looked at the mom and said “Here comes a mom that knows. She understands. You don’t have to worry about her.”. I almost lost it right there. I looked at the mom and smiled and said “I’ve been there, we’ve done that. You’ll make it through.”.

My head began to spin and tears began to fall as we walked past them and could still hear the little girl crying and fighting her way through. As I passed Liam’s old classroom I could see him and his classmates at age 3 and 4. I remembered the struggle. I remembered the fight to not be embarrassed but proud of my hardworking son. I remembered seeing other families walk out of the school with no fuss and how I was so jealous of them. And in that moment, I was filled with so much hope for that mom. I knew what she didn’t. I knew that the hard work and pain would not be wasted. I can’t even type it without my eyes filling with tears. I wanted to rush back and hug her and tell her that it would all be okay, but that’s not how it works. This is her story and her struggle and one day she will get the opportunity to feel pride and joy and gratitude of looking back and seeing that nothing is wasted. However, I do show up a little late every day now-on purpose. I walk a little slower in hopes of being in the hallway alone with that hardworking little girl and her mama so I can smile knowingly and hope that she sees me seeing her. I say “keep on” and raise my hand in true Hunger Game fashion and keep walking, tears in my eyes, remembering that Nothing is Wasted.

So, keep on friends. There is purpose in the pain, beauty for ashes and hope in tomorrow. We are in this game of life together, and please know that Nothing is Wasted.

XO, Team Oakes

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