Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Incredible Woman #46 - Colette Harris. Being and Grandma, and One Thing I Want To Do...

KARA: "You are a grandma - how is that different from being a mom? What is your favorite thing about being a grandma? What is the hardest thing?"

COLETTE: "Being a grandma is like re-living raising your own children--only better! You can enjoy your grandchildren, love them, and praise them, without worrying about the daily stress of having to discipline them.

Right now I only have one grandchild, Rachel (almost two.) My favorite thing about being Rachel's grandma is seeing her grow and develop, seeing what makes her happy and sad, and seeing how she interacts with her parents. It delights me watching her personality blossom. I love the times she wants to climb on my lap to give me hugs and show me things. It warms my heart when she cries when she has to go home because she is having so much fun at Grandma's house. The hardest thing about being Rachel's grandma, is saying good-bye when she has to leave."

KARA: "It sounds to me like you have been very involved in your kids' schooling through the years, you've spent lots of time serving others, and that you like to keep busy! Is there anything that you'd like to do that you haven't had the chance to do yet? Tell us about one unforgettable experience that you've had."

COLETTE: "Travel! Travel! Travel! I love people! I would thoroughly enjoy visiting all of the different countries in the world to learn about the people, their customs and their culture. I would also like to see more of the many scenic and historic places in the United States. Also, since I have had cancer, if I can get my legs back under me again, I would like to be able to not only walk a complete 5K but to actually be able to run one. I haven't hiked Mt. Timpanogos for years. It would be fun to do that again.

I had very simple, unforgettable experience while being treated for breast cancer that was a turning point for me emotionally.

A couple of weeks after my bilateral mastectomy, I found myself in a very dark place emotionally. I dreaded the months of treatments I had ahead of me and worried if the cancer was really gone. I was moping around the house wandering slowly from room to room and then I would go back to bed. I finally said to myself, "Girl, you've got to shake this mood!" I realized that I had not been outside since my surgery. I was weak, but decided I could still go outside if I sat on the bench on the front porch.

While I was sitting on the porch, I began to hear the birds sing. There was a gentle breeze. The sun gently beat down on my head and arms and made me feel like I was being snuggled up in a warm blanket. I noticed that the grass was getting greener and that the blossoms were popping out on our plum tree. It felt wonderful to be outside again.

I started feeling a little weak, so I decided to go back inside. I was almost in the house when I saw three neighbor children walking home from school. I leaned against the door frame and decided to wait for them to walk by my house so I could say "hi" to them. When they approached me, they all had huge smiles on their faces. The oldest child, a nine year old boy, beamed at me and said, "Sister Harris, how is your cancer doing today?" That simple question melted my heart and brought an instant smile to my face. I told him that I was doing great (his kind inquiry really did make me feel great) and I asked him and his sister and friend how they were doing.

I went into the house and reflected on what just happened. If I had not taken the time to go outside and look at the beauty around me, I never would have heard the birds sing, felt the wind and sun on my face, or heard the kind words from a concerned neighbor boy. It was then and there that I realized that I had a choice every day whether I would turn off the darkness and turn on the light in my life. God's tender mercies were all around me to bless my life every day. I just need to open my eyes and my heart to truly see them.

That experience was a turning point for me. And to this day when I may feel a little down, I think of what my neighbor boy said, "Sister Harris, how is your cancer today?" It tickles me all the way down to my toes and brings a smile to my face every time."

Join us again tomorrow as we continue this interview with Colette!


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