Friday, August 30, 2013
Chemo treatments were warped "Date Nights" for me and Joseph. We played Scrabble, watched a movie, talked, talked, talked. Eight hours under the florescent moon and buzz of nurses and bald people were the perfect setting for us to talk about anything that removed us from where we were. Sometimes we made bucket lists, sometimes we "retired" somewhere on a farm with horses and sometimes we moved to Brooklyn and I became a barista (thank you for giving me that one Joseph). We tried to not talk about the big, giant, bulging, pussing, screaming dragon on my lap, in the form of an IV. A few hours would creep by at a time - sometimes we sat in silence. Sometimes I slept and when he would go to the restroom, I would eat his Doritos: a stronger-than-meth addiction well documented among chemo users. But then there were the days where I made my deals with Gd. Please let me see Maddie graduate. Please let me help Ava into her wedding gown...and in the real dark hours, I would beg. Please let Jack and Livvy remember me. They were only 2 and 3 1/2 and I know, barring you really nutty types, my face would not remain on their radar for long. I knew if I didn't survive this, Livvy would have spotty faded flashbacks of a sick mom and Jack would have no connection to me at all. He would never know how much I adored him...not just loved him, but curled up beside him/burying my face in his neck adored him. Livvy would never know how hard we worked for her. Waging battles through three miscarriages to see the face that would restore my faith in what is good in the world. The long nights on the couch where I would gaze at her - still reeling that she was here. They were beacons for me because they would never know how deeply they lived within me. Maddie is my warrior - I knew she would take care of everyone and would carry on, strong mind, strong face...she is me with better hair. Ava would suffer publicly and wear that grieving heart on her sleeve - her eyes carrying her weight. Both knowing when it came to earth or children, they won my version of a miracle. But Jack and Livvy...they would never know. I knew Jack's first day of Kindergarten would be a big one...a sort of line that meant to me they would see me in their dreams one day. Like most moms, I use my kids' milestones to define mine. Jack would walk into that classroom, anxious, nervous and excited and I wanted to be there. Not just be there...be there. I wanted to remember the feel of his hands squirming in mine. I wanted to watch the day through his eyes. I wanted to skip breaths with him on our way down the hall to the brightly lit room with the purple toothbrush and the giant ABC posters. I wanted to find his desk and carefully put his new blue pencil box away with him. I wanted him to know I stayed up worrying about his ease, picking out a Star Wars lunchbox and combing two Targets for a matching water bottle. I wanted him to know how much he mattered. So here we are. It was emotional...I knew this was what I begged for and it was here and now I want to double down and ask for high school. I want to extend my wish - no expiration. I want to stop gambling on it and just start living it. I want to relax and stop thinking of my life in terms of months or cups of coffee and just live it as though it's like everyone else's. I want to take every second and yet I want to complain about bad weather and poor service. I want to feel grateful and not desperate. I want normal back. But what I have so far is kindergarten. His eyes, his angst, my calm, his retreating to me for comfort...we were there and I am holding this in my heart and my head for future daydreams. I am holding enough for both of us. For today this has to be enough...it's not, but it has to be.