Space research: fascinating, but not an especially good use of money with our own world full of hunger and unresolved needs. That’s how I would have characterized my take on space research early last year, before I read a couple of compelling posts on its merits.
Thanks to changes in thought and heart rippling out from my reading those posts, I knew enough to stand atop a roof and watch for the space shuttle Endeavour as it passed over my office today.
That shuttle was not so very long ago among the stars. It was among the stars because we have minds great enough to dream up, create and send not only technology but life into space. With minds out there great enough to accomplish these things, I cannot help but have faith that time will see many more wonders worked both in the sky and on our own home planet.
To do things, we must first dream them. As I stood and watched the shuttle fly by, I was heartened by the vastness of human dreams, and by the amazing impacts of our drive to see them come true.
And let us hope that all the other leaders in all the other fields look up into the night sky and ask, “What do I want? Would I be happiest to see the stars from here on Earth, or to fly amongst them?”
– Kristina, “Want Versus Need…Stuff and Space“
I love many people, and I love many people greatly, but there is no one I love more intensely or completely than one little boy named David. If you read my blog, you have come to know David as “Li’l D.” He is my son, and—although I once dreaded the prospect of parenthood—my life has been a million times brighter since he entered it three years ago.
For this one blog, I cannot call David “Li’l D.” Because, you see, this is a post about the loss of children, and “the loss of children” translates in my mind to “the loss of David.” Not “Li’l D.” David.
David: my exuberant, bossy, compassionate chatterbox of a son. My David.
Last September, I learned that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I ignored most of the posts I saw on the matter, because paying attention to them meant paying attention to the fact my own son could someday be among them.
I will cross that bridge if I get there, I told myself.
It was January before I steeled myself to read Donna’s Cancer Story, a series documenting one brave, beautiful girl’s battle with cancer. As I read it and for days afterward, I bawled, I cursed the universe, and ultimately held David tighter as I imagined what it would be like to say goodbye to him having barely just said “hello, my sunshine.”
As this September rolled around, I thought about what it would mean to me. I knew I’d read Donna’s Cancer Story again, and share it for those like me who couldn’t bear the thought of reading it the first time around.
I didn’t know I’d find myself also reading Aidan’s Cancer Story, and compelled by the memory of both Donna Quirke Hornik and Aidan Manning to look more deeply into why pediatric cancer awareness is important not only on a personal, empathy-building level but on an extremely practical one.
I’m going to be a superhero.
I learned quickly that many adults didn’t consider this a valid answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
That didn’t mean I stopped dreaming about it, or planning the glory days to come with my just-younger sister. It only meant I stopped telling adults about it, and learned to throw them off the scent with an ever-changing sequence of what I thought might be good day jobs.
I would be Dark Moon to my sister’s Silver Star.
Villains, we knew, would someday tremble before us as we flew through the air and used our magic lightning bolts to stop their land-flight!
Yet with few exceptions, we intended to show them mercy, if they seemed genuinely apologetic.
Two decades later, neither Dark Moon nor Silver Star have yet been on a single crime-fighting mission, but there’s another way that they live on while their superpowers continue gestating.
Every so often, Silver Star finds a necklace that would be the perfect fit for Dark Moon’s crime-fighting costume.
And when she does, she sends the necklace to Dark Moon, who wears it with her day job outfits in the meantime, and smiles to think of how in so doing “the dreams of two little girls thus live on in the women they’ve become. ♥”
© 2011 Deborah Bryan. All rights reserved.
Duplication in whole or substantial portion is explicitly forbidden.