Tuesday, September 3, 2013

                                                                                                      September 3, 2013

Dear Janey,
Lads and Lassie August 2013

              "She loved and accepted
               her child the way he was.
               In a perfect world,
               this would be the definition
               of "parent" in the
                          -Anna Quindlen

                   Each of us a dancer
                      to the drum,

Thursday, August 29, 2013

                                                                                                        August 29, 2013

August 27, 2013

Dear Jane,
     It's a beautiful, sun soaked, morning here at the brown house with the green front door. Just finished hanging my first load of wash out on the line to dry. The pajama bottoms and button down shirts bend and bow in the morning breeze...Their own salutation to the sun.  All feels so normal until I come back into the house to see my Addy napping at Ten Thirty in the morning. I pause on the threshold to gather a convoy of clothespins Ollie has left in his wake. And then I hear it. The sounds of children. A whole flock of them... laughing and running and lapping life up. I conclude that it must be recess. I put the clothespins back in their pail, close the back door and...ache. Ache from it all Jane. Every last bit of it. 
    We've spent the last few days in a briar patch it would seem. The prelude to Chemotherapy as well as its aftermath poking this way and that. We're scratched and scabbed...But, none more so than Adler. How weary he is of it all. 
   As I type, an image comes to mind. An image of childhood swimming. Really, it's more like "flipping" than swimming. Do you remember doing that as a child Jane? Climbing on your Dads submerged knees, perching there for a moment, waiting for the launch light to be lit. And then, much to your merriment, the countdown ensued.  Three, Two, One....LIFTOFF!!! And, suddenly, you were one with Apollo. You'd have just enough time to break through the atmosphere, wave to your fans, and plug your nose before gravity got the best of you. And, if you were lucky, the Universe (namely your Dad), would hit the repeat button again and again and again.
     I began to think of how fully committed I was to this endeavor. In my recollection, not once, do I remember getting half way through a aerial somersault only to suddenly take into consideration the perceivable dangers...yelling for my Dad to "Stop before someone gets hurt!" Or, as my Mom would often say: "Glenn, someone is going to end up crying." Nope. Didn't happen. I was committed to seeing my space odyssey through. Come what may. 
    Recently, or, perhaps not so recently at all, I have become painfully aware of "verbal gravity." There I am, securing myself to the anchor of friendships and relationships. I'm perched and ready. I'm feeling brave. I'm feeling committed. My toes are curled as if to outwit gravity. The countdown begins. Three, Two, One, LIFTOFF!!! I'm free, I'm raw, I'm vulnerable, I'm messy and unmatched. I'm unraveling at my very seams. And, it feels so damn great! So great in fact, that I try to take a mental polaroid. A fleeting emotional snapshot to remind me of this place. This wonderfully holy place. And, then, there is gravity. More specifically, verbal gravity. Even before I have rung out my swimsuit, it begins. The dread, the fear, the grasping at my hemline...searching for Two more inches of skirt to cover my exposed self. I'm raw. I'm real. I'm terrified.
     September is Childhood cancer awareness month. Recently, a friend (and fellow cancer Mom), shared that she planned to give up something she found comfort in throughout the month of September as a way to honor and soulfully acknowledge the bravery of her child. Other moms took note and linked arms with her. Some shared they would give up chocolate. Others, coffee or Diet soda. As for me, I plan to shed my "safe" shadow. To live wholly and raw and un-edited. To let my mascara run and walk around the block in my house-coat if my heart so desires. And, if my emotional cap should happen to untwist itself...exposing an overly carbonated slew of pent up heart struggles...well, then, I'll just curl my toes all the tighter, take a deep breath and let the count down commence.

               "Come take a trip on
                my airship. 
                Come sail away
                to the stars."
                        Three, Two, One,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

                                                                                                           August 22, 2013

Dear Jane,


                  Because, apparently
                  we need a sign
                  that reads:
                 "No shirt, no shoes,
                  no pants, no popcorn."
                          -Que sera sera,

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

                                                                                                         August 14, 2013

Back to school shopping with Adler
August 12, 2013

Dear Janey,
     As I type, I can hear my boys all lunching together in the kitchen. Laughing in between bites of sweet pickles and sandwiches. A week from this moment, my kitchen will be homesick. As will I. We're sitting on the shoulders of a new school year. Perched...head cocked to the side. Squinting as we look forward. Hoping to make sense of the shapes and silvery shadows that make up our future.
     For the second year in a row, I'll have a son in High school, Junior High, Elementary and Preschool. Yikes. Makes for a morning routine that is anything but.
     Every. Single. Year. I struggle with the newness that accompanies this shift in my sails. Both when the school year is over and once again as a new school year takes flight. I fret, I worry, I nash my teeth. I stew and wonder and move the decimal over Two places. All to no avail. Change still finds me. Always. Although, I have come to know this about myself...It still catches me off guard. Still blindfolds me and spins me a few whirls before sending me forward. Lucky for me, I have shaken hands with this part of my inner-workings... calling for a truce. In doing so, find myself searching for the mental breadcrumbs I carefully placed along my past-path...both reminding me of my yesterdays,  while leading me into my tomorrows.  
     It has certainly been a bittersweet summer. Full of the ripest of highs and the sourest of lows. And, although, I won't lace up new school shoes or zip up a new backpack next week...I will continue forward as student, as Cancer continues to teach.

                "Oh mirror in the sky 
                 what is love?
                 Can this child within my
                 heart...rise above?
                 Can I sail through the 
                 changing ocean tides?
                 Can I handle the
                 seasons of my life?"
                           (Stevie Nicks)

                         Number 2 pencil
                         loves to you,


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

                                                                                                       August 7, 2013
Love note...Summer 2007

Dear Jane,
     In the early hours of the morning I had a memory return to me. Isn't it wonderful how they do that sometimes? Like an unanticipated knock on your front door from a beloved childhood friend.
    I remembered a trip Jamie took back in the summer of 2007. The trip of a lifetime really. Jamie and his Dad (Pop Pop around our neck of the world) had the opportunity to travel to the wilds of Alaska together. To this day, Jamie speaks of that trip with a certain reverence almost. As if by doing so, he might somehow bottle and preserve the memories of those days spent with his Dad... much like you would the summer bounty of your vegetable garden. Perhaps with the hope of savoring each "memory bite" when the frost of life takes hold.  
    Adler was just shy of Two at the time and I remember the heaviness I felt as I considered spending Ten days here on the home front...alone. Well, not exactly alone. I'd have my Three trusty sidekicks as company...The youngest of which was smack dab in the middle of his "teethenstein" phase.
     I remember Jamie kissing the top of my head as he left to catch his pre-dawn flight. How I'd hoped he would close the front door quietly as to not wake up Addy. In the midst of the morning cha-cha, I received a One word text from Jamie. If I recall It was the word "begin." Weird. I mulled it around in my noggin and shrugged it off as part haphazard and part "Jamie." Again, the following morning right around the same time...a second One word text arrived followed then by a third and a fourth. It wasn't long before I realized Jamie was giving me instructions. A road map of sorts. The coordinates of which all eventually lead up to the desk at which I currently sit. I recall searching the surface of the desk before kneeling to give the underbelly a once over. And, there it was. My bounty, My loot, my treasure. There concealed in a unassuming white business sized envelope was a love note accompanied by a silver dollar sized pressed and laminated flower. The flower had been picked and pressed the previous summer on a hike Jamie had taken into the Wind River mountain range in Wyoming. I use it now as a bookmark and often, it is the last object my eyes see before turning off my bedside lamp and surrendering to sleep.
    I recalled this morning how eager I had been each day to receive my next "text-clue"...and even sometimes being mildly annoyed that I'd have to wait to receive the next piece to the ever evolving puzzle.
     Lately I have found myself in a similar state. Wishing, waiting, wanting for answers. Checking my life-inbox almost incessantly. Searching for coordinates that might help explain the unexplainable. Wanting desperately to "skip ahead". To hold the answers in my white envelope now!
     Just this morning I found myself explaining to my Oliver that soon he'd be able to read just like his big brother Addy. That as he grew older, so would his understanding. Why do I expect different from myself? Why do I expect different from my current life circumstance? As if by skipping to the end and avoiding the chapters in between I might somehow spare myself pain? When, in reality, by wading through each chapter....Sometimes painstakingly so, I breathe life back into myself again and again. With oxygen I never even knew I held in reserve. And often times the elusive answers meet me there....White envelope or not.
Love note August 6, 2013

If I could, I'd bottle my love 
and place it in your heart pantry.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

                              July 30, 2013

Dear Jane,
     It's unusual that I find myself in a quiet house this time of evening. Jamie is at work, my "littles" are paying a visit to the sandman and my "biggles" are lapping up every last dollop of summertime daylight with neighborhood friends. If I listen quietly, I can hear the heartbeat of summer just outside the door to my left. A heartbeat so constant and so familiar that when I listen... REALLY listen, I am Ten all over again.
     A bit of a bittersweet day over here. It's been Three weeks since Adlers last round of chemotherapy. And what a delicious Three weeks it has been! Weeks filled with all the things that make summer...well, summer. Parades and picnics, bike rides and splash pads, Nanny's house and snow cones, extended bed-times and enough Scooby Doo episodes to make one say: "Zoinks" entirely too often. All in all, it has been an especially vibrant summer. Full of vivid living. Ever aiming to be mindful of the morsels. Ah, the "morsel moments"....You know the ones? The moments that "dog ear" themselves to the pages of your heart? Those sweet morsels are the moments that have carried me. Carried me everywhere I have wanted to go....Even when I didn't know how to get there. Addys ANC counts were once again too low today to administer Chemotherapy. I was a bit surprised....Although, that's one thing Cancer has taught me...Surprise parties are always aimed and at the ready. I had hoped that with so many weeks in between treatment that Addys counts would have time to rebound and that delays would be a thing of the past. But, alas, here we are once more. Adler was so distraught to learn that we'd be making the trek back up to clinic next week. He was so anticipating another long reprieve. As was I. With each additional delay we stretch out this tiresome chapter in our lives. A chapter with entirely too many run-on sentences.
     So, that, my dear Jane is how the events of my day and I suppose even my summer have unfolded. I'll leave a few merriment morsels with you on this beautiful summer evening. I gift to you.... Oliver Tolliver. Teaching us that it's never too late to drink life up through a bendy straw.

Morsels of merriment indeed.

Cricket lullaby's
 to you,



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

                              July 23, 2013

Dear Janey,
       Happy Tuesday to you sweet girl. Woke up to balloons, gifts, a raffle and chocolate cake for breakfast. That's how I know I am growing older in my mothering. When McKay and Sammy were little I would never have dreamed to feed them sweets for breakfast. However, as I have swam through more of lifes waters (some filled with cancer rapids), I have come more to know that life isn't just about the "big picture"... but rather, the thousands of polaroid snapshots along the trek. And, it just so happens, todays snapshot included chocolate cake. 

And the winner is: Jennie Wallace

To all who participated (especially Jamie shillig the creator of the quilt)I thank you from the deep well-spring in my momma girls heart. Thank you for swimming the rapids alongside of me and our family. With you by my side....no current is too great to conquer.

   Chocolate cake wishes to  you,