Sunday, May 26, 2013

                                  May 26, 2013


Dear Jane,
     It was an afternoon dressed just like this one...Some Twenty One years ago. An ordinary afternoon and yet extraordinary all the same.
    Twenty One years ago I met my future. My blond haired blue eyed future. And what a future it has been. A future that would "see" me Ten and "raise" me Twenty.
    Man Janey, we were babies. And, as such, have enjoyed a "growth cycle" parallelled to that of a newborn. The good, the bad and the down-right ugly. There have been tantrums and time-outs. Tears and fussiness for no perceivable reason. Gnashing of teeth and power struggles. But, there has also been loveliness that would rival even the sweetest cheeked, plumpest legged, dimpled darlin' that your eyes have ever seen. And, amidst it all...We've chosen love. And, I do think it's a choice Jane. And, often times, not an easy one. One that I continue to pick up, dust off, examine and bandage. A choice that I have found ultimately has everything to do with me....And, me alone. And I choose him. Every. Single. Day. And, I'm infinitely thankful he chooses me back.
                                           "We'll build a sweet
              little nest out there
              in the West and let
              the rest of the world go by."


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

                                                                                                       May 22, 2013

Seeds....May 22, 2013

Dear Jane,
     Oh Janey, it's so beautiful here today. It's warm and bright and every time I walk past one of our windows, it's raining seeds. Thousands and thousands of seeds. Makes me wish I were one of them....Just to see where I'd plant myself.
     I've been thinking a lot about seasons of life. How they come and go...Never asking for permission nor validation. They ebb and flow. They wax and wane. And, so it has gone and so it will go.
     The amazing thing about seasons is that they feel so very permanent. So very, very, permanent. And, yet, as I examine the comings and goings of my life...The seasons have morphed and changed and blurred... one sashaying into the next with nary a nod goodbye. Often times, I find myself (especially lately) dusting off my "heart-shelf"....Looking for tokens of the familiar. Trying to remember. How old was McKay when he learned to tie his shoes? How old was Sampson when he lost his first tooth? The last time I nursed Adler....Did I know it was to be the finale? And, little Ollie. Exuberant Ollie. When did he finally begin to sleep through the night? A funny thing about seasons: In their "present" state, they are your everything. It's nearly impossible to imagine anything but. In the doldrums of winter...try as you might, it's hard to believe you'll ever be standing in line at your local snow cone shack digging for quarters for the tip jar. And vice versa....In the heat of a July can scarcely remember what your driveway looks like adorned with its best dressed wintry self. Isn't that funny Jane? Even with a fair portion of life experience tucked within myself...I still forget. I still question the inevitable. Both the bitter and sweet of it all.
     Yes, that's the funny thing about seasons. they are the ultimate optical illusion. Leading us to believe that where we are sitting today will certainly be where we are perched tomorrow. That both good tidings and great trials will linger "as is"....forever. Let us learn from Nature Janey. Let's learn from the seeds that adorn my driveway even as I type. They do not ask why or when Or even for directions. They simply...Let go.

         Going whichever way the wind blows,

Monday, May 20, 2013

                                                                                                             May 20, 2013

  Dear Jane,
Nacho Adler

         Love, with an extra side of love,


Friday, May 17, 2013

                                                                                                           May 17, 2013
Brotherly love...May 17, 2013

Dear Janey,
     The words of a dear song keep re-playing and re-playing on the turntable of my brain..."It must be winter in my heart...There's nothing warm in there at all." Although the robin sings atop the lilac bush outside my window even as I type...My heart is wintering this afternoon.
    Spent yesterday at the Hospital with Adler. He's so sick Janey. So, so, sick. As he readied for bed Tuesday evening, I noticed he felt warm. By the time we celebrated our third "encore" of goodnights, he was down right fevering. We had been forewarned that if his fever was to reach 100.5 at any point during treatment, we would be admitted into the hospital as it would most likely be a sign that an infection was brewing and with "chemo counts," a fever can lead to a myriad of woes. I set Jamies cell phone alarm to wake me every Two hours during the night. I'd turn on our bedside lamp...the shadows of which became my trusted allies as I'd lay next to Addy and wait the Three minutes for the thermometer to reach its destination. 100.2 And there it perched... All night long. Somehow or another, the mornings just keep making their way to us. And with the arrival of morning so came the arrival of what we affectionately call the "pukes." Ugh. Double ugh. So, we called our oncologist who advised us to head in to be seen. Poor Adler... "And they roared their terrible roar and they gnashed their terrible teeth." Now, I understand Mr. Sendak...Now, I understand. How could I hope for anything but? He's miserable, he's tired, he feels defeated ....As do I.
     The team ran a whole gaggle of tests including an ultrasound which showed an abnormal amount of fluid in Addys belly. Not sure what that means yet, or if it's even related to Addys symptoms. They filled Addy full of I.V. fluids (he had refused food or drink for the previous 20 hours or so and had lost a pound and a half in a day and a half...46 lbs), gave him a dose of anti-biotics, and allowed us to scoop our Addy bundle up and head home. Oh blessed home.
     Addy is still fevering and "hollow." I've managed to get some grape juice in him today. As I loaded his tumbler into the dishwasher I marveled to think what a cause for celebration it has become to see my son drink Six ounces. I stood over my sink for a long while just re-tracing my "thought-steps." Hoping to remember where I had left them.
     So my sweet Jane, that's where my wintry heart is resting today. Wondering where the next hours and days will lead us. I suppose that's a luxury not afforded to any of us...Cancer or not. So for today, for this hour, we'll chart our course Six sweet ounces at a time.

         "He sailed off through the night
          and day, and in and out of weeks
          and almost over a year, to where
          the wild things are."



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

                                                                                                    May 15, 2013

Dear Jane,

Addy and Ollie May 3, 2013

                       "The difference between him and the
        other boys at such a time was that
        they knew it was make-believe, while
                          to him, make believe and true
        were exactly the same thing."
                       -J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

                                     Second star to the right Janey,


Monday, May 13, 2013

                                May 13, 2013

Dear Janey,  
Mothers Day...May 12, 2013

           It's such a stellar blue sky evening here at the brown house with the green front door. I'm not certain, but it feels to be the warmest day of the year so far. Ah, blessed has never felt kinder.
     How was your Mothers Day friend? Were there smiley face flapjacks, dandelion bouquets and macaroni shell masterpieces sprinkled throughout your day? Were there extra tight hugs around your neck and Eskimo kisses that were sticky with jam left over from the smiling flapjacks? I do hope so.
     I've though a lot about Mothers Day this year. About my role as a Mother. What that role means to me and how I wear it. I came to the conclusion yesterday that although, women seem to be inherent nurturers... cradling others from the moment we leave the cradle ourselves it would seem. We are not, however, inherent nurturers of ourselves. For instance, I would never begin to think of saying to one of my children the words/thoughts/adjectives that so easily punctuate my "self talk" each day. Never for an instant could I fathom punishing them or disciplining them in the manner I so readily do myself. Makes me consider the origin of the word "tough love." Tough love sure seems to hold hands with the word female...from the starting gate it would seem.
     And, so, included in this lovenote to you dear Jane is a lullaby of sorts. A prayer even. It is for you. For them...and even for me.

        Because Janey...You're so, so, good.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

                               May 8, 2013

 Dear Jane,

May 8, 2013

      I hesitate sharing the above photo. It's raw and rough and as un-edited as life itself. My poor Adler boy has been so, so, sick. And, there's not a thing I can do to ease the constant nagging of his circumstance. He wanders from room to room...Looking for a new surface to lay down upon. I think he thinks a fresh set of walls will afford him respite from this seemingly never ending game of "hide and seek". Where both seeking and hiding offer little by way of comfort.
     The silver lining (perhaps silver irony) the photo offers, is the normalcy of everything else in the life-scene. There's my sweet-cheeked Ollie stacking and re-stacking lego's, apples that will certainly be enjoyed while watching a movie together as a family, blankets pulled fresh from the wash earlier today. And, then, there is beautiful Adler. Weak and weary and feeling hopelessly lost even as he sits amongst the familiarity of his surroundings. Oddly enough, there is comfort to be had in the knowledge that the same couch Adler sits on in his frustrated state, is the same couch Adler has dis-assembled dozens and dozens of times to build the "fort of the day." The same couch he has napped on since he was a toddler, the same couch we have read bedtime books on night after night after night. And, I suspect down the road just beyond my vantage point, that same couch will be a bystander as Adler opens up our front door, kicks off his shoes, runs to find his brothers to declare: "I'm done! I've made it! No more cancer for me!"

             Keep on the sunny side,


Friday, May 3, 2013

                                                                                                                May 3, 2013

Mrs. Hansen Fifth grade 1986/87'

.....The first experience that I can recall with feeling real, down to your toes kind of  gratitude, I was Eleven years old and in the Fifth grade.  Mrs. Gayle Hansen was my teacher. My parents had recently divorced and oddly enough, so had hers. Somehow our homesickness for "happily ever after" drew us in with another. Mrs. Hansen loved me. This I knew. She once made silhouettes of our entire class one at a time. When she sent mine home with me, she had written a love note on the back. I still have it....some Twenty odd years later. Looking back now with my rearview eyes, I see her desire to help me see myself the way she saw me....whole and good and of worth. Mrs. Hansen gave me my first "real job." She hired me to be her after school helper. Though, I'm fairly certain she did the majority of the helping. I wiped and washed chalkboards, removed long embedded staples from cork board, wiped down counter tops and the classroom sink, organized our P.E. bucket and hung up recently completed artwork. And, for my efforts, I was given Three dollars and a trip to the faculty lounge for a Cherry Coke on the house. I'd walk home sipping my liquid prize and I knew I'd been "seen," knew I was loved. Her kindness to me caused such a flurry of emotions. It was the first time I knew a simple "thank you" couldn't possibly suffice. It was the first time I knew my gratitude for her love and compassion outweighed me. And, as I sit here in front of this blank cyber paper....It outweighs me even still. But, for different reasons. For different life circumstance. In 1994 as I prepared for High School graduation I took a six pack of Cherry Coke along with my Graduation announcement to the Office of my Elementary school and asked the Secretary to place it in Mrs. Hansens "cubby." Several days later Mrs. Hansen stood in the hallway of my childhood home with a love note for me and a hug I will never forget. Very few words were spoken. She held me tight and then took a step back...her hands on my shoulders. "I love you Sara...You define your future. It does not define you." And she was gone....Just like that. I left the next month to nanny in New York where I received Mrs. Hansens obituary in the mail. Cancer. She was in her mid-fifties. She taught school up until the day before she died. I'd like to think she knows now. Knows all the things I wish my Eleven year old heart knew how to exhale. It is with the very same heart....although older now, more "seasoned" even, that I wish to convey my gratitude to you. Each and every one. For your generosity, compassion, service and prayers. In my minds eye, each of you are standing in my hallway in an embrace that that knows no end. "Fall on your knees...Oh hear the angel voices." 

          Thank you for being my angels,


Thursday, May 2, 2013

                                                                                                           May 2, 2013
Dear Janey,

  March 4, 2013

  This photo was taken the day before life shifted for me. For us. Looking back, with the perspective I have now, I can see the miracle that this day truly was.
  It was Monday the 4th of March. It was early out Monday. Oliver doesn't attend preschool on Mondays and for some reason, that day I couldn't bring myself to send Adler to school. He had begged to stay home with Oliver. Pleaded actually. I initially had refused as Addy had already missed quite a bit of school with what we thought to be a kidney infection and or kidney stones. So, I was hesitant to have him miss any further school. But, for some beautiful reason, my momma girl heart acquiesced. For which I will forever be grateful.
     It was a slow motion day....But, in the sweetest of ways. We readied for the day. I remember brushing my hair and overhearing Addy and Ollie plotting about plans to "eat out." Sure enough, a few minutes later, Adler galloped up the stairs...Their plans seeping through his toothless grin. Again, in-spite my initial inclination to put it off for another day...I shrugged and pulled my hair into a bun readying myself for a hot lunch date.
    It was early March still and we'd had very few warm days...But, this day was different. As if,the Universe knew we would want to fill our pockets with warm sunshine. And, so we did. Every square inch. The boys debated and agreed upon Burger King. Funny enough, I don't think either of them had ever eaten there before. But, for whatever reason, that's where we found ourselves. We had the Playplace to ourselves. The boys played and ate and played some more. Sunlight streaming in through the floor to ceiling windows. Adler ate his cheeseburger and asked for a second one. He'd never done that before and it caught me off guard. But, I found myself at the counter again. "One cheeseburger and Two crowns please." On my way back to the Playplace the boys met me in the middle...half skipping, half jumping to see what treasure the "King" had bequeathed me.
   When the boys were full (bellies and otherwise) we left to run afternoon errands. The fabric store, the Post Office and Target. Even as the errands were unfolding, I had the conscious thought: "The boys are happy today...I bet they are so happy to be waking from hibernation." And, Janey, they were. So happy. So full.
   We made it home to the bigger brothers. I again overheard the "littles." This time though, they were telling tale of crowns and Target store dollar toys. They spoke quickly....In streams of giddy, run on sentences. 
   The day made way for evening which shook hands with the night. I tucked those beautiful boys in extra tightly and kissed them on the top of their heads. Never dreaming that a few short hours later, the events of that day would be a "starting line" and "finishing line" all at the same time. Sometimes life is just like that I suppose. Definitive mile markers. Thank you Jane for being there at either end of that spectrum. And in between too.

               King crown wishes,