Sometimes life doesn’t work out exactly as you planned. Or even, in some cases, at all how you planned. You fall in love, get married, buy a house… you’re living the dream. And then almost as quickly as your dream was realized, it dissolves into a million tiny pieces and you find yourself trying to find a container for as many of those fragments as you can before they slip through your fingers entirely.
Which is the moment in time when I stepped into Miranda Ables’ life, earlier this year. Miranda had won my Our Story competition, nominated by a friend who was inspired by her positive attitude and resilience in the face of many challenges. A single mom with two daughters, Miranda was dealing with the aftermath of two divorces and resulting, separate custody battles, right about the time that her youngest, Mia, was diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Now a single mom, juggling two, separate custody schedules, Mia’s doctors visits, and coordinating her medical care with a father in another household with whom relations are strained, plus the pressures of trying to keep a job when your daughter’s treatments and care require a large amount of work flexibility that isn’t readily available, Miranda’s friend, Bernadette, wrote this about her when nominating her for the Our Story experience,
“Even through all of these trials she comes to church every Sunday and sings and plays piano before the congregation and is grateful for all that she has, not hateful of what she does not or all that is happening.”
It’s a lot to handle, and the intricacies of her situation, as I found out, are more complex and stressful than a summary blog-post could ever capture. But, as Bernadette says, I found Miranda to be full of light and laughter and happiness, in a way that was truly humbling. When we met for our session earlier this year, Mia was in recovery after some heavy chemotherapy, her hair growing out, and her sassy energy back. We spent some time enjoying Mia’s new bedroom (recently renovated by the charity The Sweet Dreams Foundation) along with her older sister, Loriah, and then took a walk to the neighborhood play area for some swing time.
Mia, I found, is a lot like my own daughter, with a mature demeanor and a love for pretend restaurant and school games. In fact, I found myself having several moments of deja vu as I was served plastic croissants and donuts periodically throughout my visit. (Thank goodness they weren’t real or I’d have been stuffed.) As a trio, the Ables girls are fun, genuine, thoughtful, and kind and, despite all the stresses, Miranda has succeeded in making a warm and happy place for them all to call home.
Although life is not perfect and often not easy, these girls showed to me what resilience looks like. It looks like playing and cuddling and laughing and running and climbing and just being together. When nothing else is going as planned, the ordinary becomes extraordinary and full of gratitude.
Meet the Ables family…