Thanks everyone for your kind support of Shannon's Relay for Life efforts. My family is indeed touched by all your kindnesses.
The following is a little vignette from my childhood - as simple and as complicated as it was.
I found a kitten on the "side road" and brought it home (the side road was thus named as only the sides of houses bordered it - no fronts...and it was the side road). At least I think that's how it got there. I was a little girl and I put it in a box in the garage with a blanket. It looked a little sick to me - runny eyes, that I remember. The garage was not a place you could really play in. You would ride your bike in from playing and quick, put the kickstand down and run out. Sometimes you would just do a hop off as it was moving and run out without bothering with the kickstand. Anyway, I went and got the kitten a little bowl of milk. A day later (or whatever the time elapse was) when I went back out to check on the poor thing, it had died. I think I recall one of my brothers out there checking on it, something about distemper.
So when I think of such stories from my childhood and juxtapose it to my children's - imagine Tali bringing home a sick kitten, roaming the neighborhood alone. The freedom with which I traveled my landscape - don't get me wrong, there were plenty of dangers out there but somehow they never befell us. The truth is we were already hardened to dangers from living with an alcoholic. Yes sure, my father stopped drinking when I was around nine or ten, can't be sure. The dye was cast. I had lost the ability to be carefree.
Instead I developed a sense of humor that was more the armour required for survival in a large loud Irish family. Why do I share this with you? I'm not sure. Something made me think of summer days, dirt floors in garages, short haircuts with bangs, the haves...the have-nots, running in the house and drinking tap water on a hot summer day, the woebegone, the disenfranchised. Although to look at us, you would never know it. My mother worked so hard to keep our house in order and neat and clean. Our clothes never bore a wrinkle.
Sometimes the externals aren't so important, as it turns out.