At the last minute, my son and I decided to join a few classmates in the Pediatric Cancer Foundation Walkathon. It couldn’t be a better day — weather-wise — for a long walk along Manhattan’s Hudson River boardwalk.
Needless to say, I dressed a notch better than a schlub (that’s Yiddish for bedraggled person) given the activity.
One of the key organizers for the event is my son’s teacher. She is so involved because she lost a child to cancer.
It’s hard for me to put this truth in writing. I can’t quite fathom such a trauma.
Yet, this amazing teacher is able to go through life, day in and day out, taking care of other children. And all the while she looks beautiful. She stays in good shape, dresses nicely even though her students would never notice, and her hair always looks long and smooth.
I can’t imagine caring about how I look ever again after such a tragedy. And yet, she does.
Perhaps looking good is her way of affirming life. I don’t have the guts to ask. But I admire her that much more for it.
Participating in a walkathon such as this and being reminded of my son’s teacher’s own tragedy makes me appreciate my kids’ health that much more. But, also, seeing this teacher’s strength and self-respect compels me to make that extra effort — even at a simple walkathon — to look beautiful and affirm my own life.