The day after our failed trip to Highlands for the July 4th weekend, Findley said something very poignant.

"I feel like I am manic," he said. "One minute, we're driving down the interstate, looking forward to a weekend in the mountains with family and counting the blessing of three happy kids in the back of the car. The next minute, we're on the side of the road, holding Virginia and counting the seconds in between breaths as she seizes."

This is not the first time I have written about this theme. About the struggle to live in the tension between joy and sorrow, life and loss, celebration and suffering.

A friend of mine is in the middle of a very painful situation. She and her family have come face to face with intense hatred. In an email last week, she wrote, "Things are so terrible you wouldn't believe...but we feel every blessing hundred fold."

The darkness makes the light appear even brighter, but often the tension between the two is intense. The struggle leaves me feeling tired, confused, or Findley's word, manic.

Wills started kindergarten last week and loves it. I am so proud of him and full of gratitude that he is thriving.

Virginia started second grade, but there are constant reminders that we are taking a square peg and trying to fit her into a round hole. It hurts to consider the depth of Virginia's school experience in light of Wills', but maybe I am looking at it the wrong way?

It is tough for me to go from heavy news at the pulmonologist to celebrating the completion of Wills' first soccer practice. (And believe me, if you saw him play last year, you would understand that 'celebrate' is indeed the correct word.)

I am looking for harmony in the midst of an intense range of emotions.

The constant physical suffering that Virginia endures causes me to cling tightly to simple, happy moments I might otherwise have missed. Eliza holding Virginia's hand the entire way home from school. The way Virginia's face lights up when she hears Wills come in the front door and yell, "Where are you, Sissy? How was your day?"

Suffering gives a clarity to life that is truly beautiful, but sometimes I have to look at things just the right way in order to be able to see it.


Wills really gets into Halloween. He's been asking for his costume since May, so I finally gave in. The only problem is that Eliza is scared to death of him, which makes him like it even more.

Has to lose the mask to eat...

Virginia's first day started at 7:45. Kindergarten didn't start until 9:00 the first week. I needed that hour and 15 minutes to get out of my pajamas in time to take Wills, but Daddy and Virginia were ready bright and early.

Funny girl. The only sad part about Wills starting school has been how much Eliza has missed him. She asks for him all day long. But she does take advantage of his cowboy hat while he's away.