Aaron’s brain tumor has given us a ravenous hunger for life that’s directly proportionate to the intense gratitude we have for every day on this planet.
It’s discovery kick-started us to do all of the living we could: to get married, to have another wedding reception, to have a child, to sell our house, to drive North until we hit the edge of it all, to head west into the desert and consider turning south and never coming back.
It’s made us want to stay up late and wake up early. No, go to bed early and wake up late. To go to IKEA on a Saturday afternoon. To watch Friday Night Lights until 2 am. To read him my childhood diaries out loud. To eat more. To eat healthier. To eat a Shamrock Shake even though it’s poison because it’s a poison that is only available for a limited time. To run. To meditate. To grow (and kill) a garden. To spend a full day in our pajamas. To generate ideas for new businesses to start and new movies to write and new places to go that neither of us have ever seen before.
No amount of gratitude can satisfy this hunger. Our baby’s face makes us want five more babies (or one, according to Aaron, who isn’t as Irish Catholic as I am). NOW. Aaron casually suggests I dye my hair pink? DONE. We see something we like in a store? PURCHASED.
I want to find every book or poem or song that ever meant anything to me and read it out loud to him until it’s as much a part of his being as it is mine. I want to build a time machine and watch his whole life unfold so there isn’t a minute of his existence that is unfamiliar to me.
“Why don’t you slow down a minute,” my dad said the other night, “you’ve got enough going on right now.”
No, sir. There’s no such thing as too much. And even if there were, we’d be nowhere close.
Listen up, kids: the world is full of harsh truths, and I’m here to share some of the most important ones I’ve learned in the past 15 months or so.
So, now that you’re sufficiently bummed out, be an adult and add these four things to your to-do list. Deal?
Neale Donald Walsh
If you’re the kind of person who has chosen the first option, you’re doing it wrong. Look again. Try harder.