The beauty of imperfect realities

We take portraits by Grandma's rhododendron every spring. It blooms for only a week, and I always try to wait for the perfect light, but it never seems to happen. The blooms and the light are on different schedules.

My girls are at that awkward, toothy, gangly stage. They're also at the fake smile stage. All of this adds up to some pretty hilarious portrait session outtakes. Those are the ones I love the most - when their real personalities shine through the perfect smile.

Such a picture of my own life these days. I wear remission like a new-toothed smile full of gaps. But it's my real smile, this awkward one - days bubbling over with more hilarity, more joy, not the perfection of a practiced gesture, but the explosion of gangly, long-limbed cartwheels across the carpet of life.

It may not be very beautiful to look at, this life. But it's a joy to live in it's skin. Every day the kids and I laugh together over depression waning and cancer fading into memory. Some little sign of my continued healing is noticed each and every morning...yesterday, the walk we all took together through the windy afternoon. Today, the moments stolen laughing and cuddling in bed.

I remember my mama telling me I'd someday settle down in my den with these four cubs. I thought her wildly crazy, and kept gallivanting around to friends for play dates and long, lazy afternoons laughing at our children and their antics. But those friends went up in a cloud of smoke, and I found myself alone in the den with my children.

I feel guilty sometimes. As if I should make more of an effort to get out of this house and make some friends. It's hard on my kids sometimes, too. But we've grown together in ways we hadn't before, spending all this time together.

The truth is, my tribe is my community, in the truest sense of the words. We'll be together through thick and thin, and every ounce of energy poured into these family relationships will be worth it in the end. There's always time to make new friends...but my children will soon be grown out of the gangly, toothy stage and I'll have moved on past cancer, and we'll never get another chance to be together today.

Linked to Lisa-Jo for the prompt, "Community"