Saturday, August 11, 2007

Happy Anniversary Poppy!

It has been almost exactly one year since my father's kidney cancer surgery. I can't believe I just typed that.
My father, who has never been sick, hospitalized, seriously wounded in his entire life was diagnosed with kidney cancer in May of last year. Never will I forget the chill that ran through me when he called from the parking lot of the doctor's office. "Malignant" was the diagnosis from the MRI. A "growth" he had known about for four years but was told not to worry about was indeed something to worry about. He abruptly hung up the phone so I wouldn't have to bear witness to his fear. But I knew anyway. And my heart broke.
My father, our family rock, our clown, my daughter's first babysitter, ...was indeed mortal. And I was scared. My husband has often told me that he fears the day (and I hate to type this, let alone think of it) my father dies. He is that important to our family. In the 37 years of my life he is a constant...has gotten me out of scrapes, listened to me, been a friend. And now, he needed us.
And it was a scary time, from opinions that the whole kidney should go, to chemo to finding a wonderful doctor who said a partial nephrectomy was all that was needed. And that was the route he went. Even during those days, he showed a strength that was amazing. He never complained. He stayed at our house for two weeks afterward. The upshot is that my parents had divorced after 40 (forty...yes that was a 4 and a 0) years of marriage mere weeks before the diagnosis. My father had gone for happiness after years of "staying together for the sake of the children"...children who would have been better off had they divorced in our youth. By his second day home my father was up and walking. By the end of the week, he took the children to the beach...this man with the incision that wrapped halfway around his torso.
Today, I look back (and a little bit forward, because one never knows) and am grateful for my dad.
Two days ago we went to the Tigers game. They lost, but I couldn't help feeling like we, as a family, had won. My dad is still here...he is healthy, and we enjoyed what families have been enjoying for generations. Hot dogs, and sun ( a little bit of sun because it was kind of a crappy day) and all of us together.
Happy Anniversary Poppy... and here is to many more.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Rock a Bye Sweet Baby James

Today, my son has a birthday. I can't believe it. ***I started this two days ago and then all hell broke loose and so, it is now two days pretend it's still Monday, for me***

He is the one who was eagerly awaited for so (almost too) long. He was the one I didn't believe I was ever going to meet. We had, in fact, given up mere weeks before I became aware of his existence. I was battling (plodding through) the depression that had overtaken me and my once sunny (no, seriously) disposition with the successive losses in our attempts to add to our family. When the doctor hugs you, sighs, ticks something off on your chart and gives her nurse a "look"...well that is when you become truly hopeless.

And then he arrived. After months of wavering between disbelief and certainty that this was not going to happen, "don't get your hopes up old gal" feelings. Feelings that were so strong they led me to not even being able to hear him when they placed him on my tummy upon his birth. I was crying the happy, shaking, no one ever really cries when they are happy, delirious type tears that I didn't think were possible. His little bleats were mixed in with the excitement over the moment, my husband's (God I will never forget that look) face, the doctor's extreme enthusiasm and my own crazy thoughts. But there he was.

And he became, very nearly, king of our household. The prince of our entire extended family...and very nearly pope. Thankfully, with time, we've reigned him in.

I can't believe it has been nine years (and two days) since that moment. It sounds stupid but it does really seem like yesterday. And then I think of all the days in between and realize it is more of feeling of not remembering life without him.

He, who pooped out a barcode at 1 month of age leading us to wonder what he would "scan for".

He who had his mama sleeping on the floor of his room for months because she was still afraid she would lose him somehow.

He with the sawdust sprinkled on his head at the local fruit market.

He who would spend hours on his big sister's lap watching while she played computer games...

only to turn into...

He who would (and does) spend hours tormenting the same big sister by getting into her stuff.

He who still will cuddle with mama on the couch and delights in reading books together.

He, who still is the prince of our household, to match the fair princess who resides there.

How grateful we are to be graced with his presence, no matter how surly, on a daily basis.

And that song? Rock a Bye Sweet Baby James? That is his song and it still make me sob those crazy, happy, shaking tears whenever I happen to hear it.

Happy Birthday little man.