by Tina Seymour Demoran, Esquire

Today started out rather busy.  My calendar was loaded full of court cases, client meetings, filings and paperwork that needed to be completed before I closed down the firm for the Thanksgiving Holidays.  My to-do lists were running through my head.  I lamented my ability to do even one load of clothes in the last four days as I passed an overflowing hamper in the laundry room.  I had projects to complete on my desk, in court, and at home.

I threw on just enough make-up to keep the public from screaming in horror and hurried my pups through their morning walk.  As I pulled into the parking lot of my firm, I groaned.  I forgot to put the garbage bins on the curb when I left the firm yesterday…a fact I realized as I watched the garbage truck roar past my firm.

How much worse could today get? I spent a normally usual and uneventful morning in court lamenting how horrible my life had become…feeling sorry for myself.

But after my last client of the day, as I sat in my office, filling out a deposit slip and shutting down  my computer, I experienced a reality check.

You see, my Facebook page was open on my computer, and up popped a picture of my great-niece, Gracie Mae, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor several years ago, and who is still fighting the cancer that keeps returning.  I met this little girl’s eyes and realized that I had it good.

Really good.

I was lamenting my own very normal life’s woes, when this angel fights bigger battles.

Every day, she fights a battle to do what we take for granted.  To wake up, do her physical therapy, endure countless rounds of chemo and radiation, and to still remain cheerful and hopeful that she will soon be able to return to the life she had before the first tumor was discovered:  a life full of softball, playing with her cousins and brothers and sisters, and being able to attend school without a worry that her compromised immune system will be exposed to a virus or bacteria that could shut down her little body for days, even weeks.

She who has every reason, every right, to complain, won’t waste her precious time dwelling on her condition.  Instead, she prefers to spend her days fighting cancer and looking to the future.  Regardless of her physical condition, she’s only angry when she can’t play with her siblings because she’s on her way to another test, another dose of medication, another stay in the hospital in Birmingham.  She’s only upset when she can’t attend her little brother’s football games.  She only complains when she has to be separated from her little sister and new little brother while she’s undergoing treatment for her cancer.

Okay, maybe the laundry wasn’t such a big deal after all.

I then thought of my dad.  When I was sixteen, a drunk driver clipped my dad’s boat trailer while he was driving to New Orleans for a fishing trip.  When he stepped out of his truck to unhook his boat, he was struck by another vehicle.  When I arrived at the hospital, I found my entire family in the surgical waiting room.  The doctors weren’t optimistic, and my dad became a double amputee, but he pulled through.

The orthopedic surgeon told us he would never walk.  There was too much damage to his knees and the nerves in his legs.  We should focus on building his upper body strength.  This strength would help facilitate his movements in a wheelchair.  Even if he were able to walk, it would take years to achieve mobility.

But Dad ignored them.  He never listened to their predictions.  Within a year, he was back out in the woods, deer hunting on his new prosthetics.  In 2000, he walked me down the aisle at my wedding.

You know, those projects at work really aren’t that overwhelming.  I could get most of them finished tonight.

I then thought of my many clients fighting their own personal battles.  People I see every day who, faced with the most incredible pain and suffering that life can hand them, somehow find a way to smile and encourage others.  Next to their experiences, an overflowing basket of dirty clothes seems rather inconsequential in comparison.

Wait a minute…the reason why we are shutting down the firm this afternoon is so that my staff can go home and enjoy time with their families.  I need to make sure that I give Linda, my office manager, that nice bottle of wine I have stashed behind my desk to take home for the weekend.  She’s earned it this last week, for sure.

I then thought of the children I see every day in chancery and youth court.  Kids who were taken from their families because of abuse or neglect.  Kids who have dealt with the abuse because they could not fight for themselves.  Kids who received unbelievable pain and neglect from the very hands that should have sheltered and protected and loved them.

Kids who still had the ability to love and trust, even after their worst tragedies

True, it will only take a few hours to get the my paperwork finished this afternoon.  Then, I will be able to leave tomorrow, headed up to North Mississippi so I and my husband can visit our two very beautiful little blue eyed and blonde haired grandbabies.

Reality check over, my mind focused again, I called my husband and told him I love him.

Yep.  That was out of the blue…caught him off guard.  HA!

When I returned to the office, I decided to save one of the pictures of Gracie Mae from my Facebook page.  I’m framing it, and placing it on my office wall, right next to the picture of me and my dad at my wedding.

Their determined faces will be subtle reminders for me—reminders to value the true blessings in my life, and to make the most in life of what I’m given.