“It was just an old plywood boat, ’75 Johnson with an electric choke.” Drive, by Alan Jackson. Read more
Please indulge me. Typically, my rambling posts take place on Friday; however, I feel the need to ramble today. So many thoughts are filling my head, I fear I will explode if I don’t release some of the pressure. Some of these ramblings may be repeats. My apologies.
My friend emailed me last night, providing me with an update on her Mom. The news was not good. We all hoped (and prayed) the chemo was working to reduce the size of the tumors. Unfortunately, the CT scan showed the chemo did not work, and the tumors showed signs of growth. Fortunately, my friend’s Mom started a new chemo-cocktail yesterday. Again, we turn to hope and prayers to yield the results we want.
My friend is off to see her Mom later this month. She’ll get to spend quality time with her Mom – just the two of them. As my friend shared the news with me that she purchased the tickets and made the plans, I remembered my Dad.
January 1994. My family had mentioned Dad seemed depressed. My family had mentioned my Dad was not acting like his normal self. Though no one in the family knew what was going on with my Dad, it was apparent something was happening. Mid-January. I buy a ticket to fly home the 2nd week of February to be with my Dad and family. Late January. We find out my Dad has Lung Cancer.
February 4, 1994. I receive a phone call at work. It was my sister. My Dad was admitted to the hospital. Another sister of mine was working with Delta (she’s a flight attendant) to help me get a plane ticket to Atlanta. I leave work, and head to my place in DC before heading to the airport.
I think I arrived in Atlanta around 4pm. My sister-in-law’s parents met me at the airport and drove me to Piedmont Hospital. The ride to the hospital seemed to take forever (as did the flight from DC to Atlanta, for that matter). I don’t remember what my sister-in-law’s parents told me. I was in a daze. I was nervous. And, my stomach was in knots just like my stomach is in knots now, as I retell the story.
Walking with my friend through her Mom’s Cancer battle, takes me back to my walk during my Dad’s battle, his incredibly short battle. I met my friend (and another) prior to my Dad’s death, and my friend (and the other) got me through my Dad’s death.
I didn’t have the prep-time my friend has with her Mom. I was called. I boarded a plane. And, I saw my Dad – unconscious. He was in and out of consciousness before I arrived in Atlanta, and my Mom and siblings told him I was on the way to see him. But, I didn’t make it. He did not regain consciousness after I arrived, and he died shortly after midnight, February 5th. My Dad was gone. And, I did not have the kind of closure that eases the horrific sting of death. I admit there is a selfish side to me walking with my friend, as her Mom battles cancer; walking with my friend helps me come to terms with my Dad’s death.
He’s been gone for 16yrs. The intense pain I felt when he died has lessened significantly. But, as those of you who have lost a loved one know, the pain never truly goes away. And, as sick as it sounds, I find it comforting to feel the sadness again. I find it comforting to feel the pain. It is as if my Dad is with me all over again. Though I don’t remember him as the man hooked up to the respirator, unconscious. I remember him smiling, smoking, drinking, joking and being the burly New Englander, striking fear in my friends with his deep voice and subtle humor. I remember his laugh. And, I remember him answering the phone by saying, “Yell’oh.” (That’s Yankee for ‘Hello’.)
Hmm . . . maybe my head isn’t overwhelmed with countless thoughts at once. Perhaps my head is just filled with thoughts of my Dad and thoughts of my friend and her Mom. No. Really, my head is filled with other stuff, too. But compared to family and friends, the other stuff is just crap. I won’t sweat that other stuff, and you shouldn’t either. Now, reach out to a loved one by phone, email or better yet – send a card or letter via snail mail. Why not?
This week, Friday ends Father’s Day week. Many shows focused on Dads, including CBS Sunday Morning. During an interview with Bill Gates, Bill said, ‘I aspire to be like my Dad.’ Based on Bill’s comment, I believe it is common boys want to be like their Dads, and girls want to be like their Moms. Makes sense.
Well, I am so very glad I had boys. Moreover, I am so very glad I married a good man. I think I am a good Mom, and I believe I have some admirable qualities. Still, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief, because my boys are more likely to aspire to be like their Dad than they are to aspire to be like me, their Mom. That’s not to say I don’t have to worry about my actions or the example I set before my kids.
The more I think about it, my boys (assuming they are heterosexual, of course) will probably look for girlfriends that have qualities mirroring me. Hmmm . . . interesting. Oh, and the fact that I will one day – possibly – be a mother-in-law?! Mwahahaha . . . Oh the power! She better do her best to make me like her.
Fireflies. Yes, this past week, my boys and I went hunting for fireflies. With the agreement the fireflies would be let go the next day, I told the boys they could keep the fireflies in their room for the night. (Safely contained in a cup with a lid, of course.)
The next morning, the boys woke up and sat around with their fireflies. At some point in the morning, Charlie went to get his milk out of the fridge. While we were eating breakfast, Joe went to the fridge to get his milk. “Why is this in here?” He asked, as he pulled Charlie’s cup of fireflies out off the fridge.
“Charlie!” I yelled, fearing the fireflies met a cold demise. “Why did you put your fireflies in the fridge?” Apparently, when he went to get his milk, he had too many things in his hands; so, he put down the fireflies (in the fridge) in exchange for his milk. I opened the lid and I noticed that most of the fireflies were not moving, though one large firefly was moving slightly.
Because the container had been in the fridge for at least an hour, I was not optimistic; still, in an attempt to ‘defrost’ and save the fireflies, I took the cup o’flies outside and placed it in the sun. Happily, within 30 minutes, the fireflies were active again. And, later that day, the boys let the fireflies go – all still alive and flying.
This week, as I drove through various subdivisions, I noticed several kids outside selling various things from their driveway. I saw kids selling water and lemonade, and I saw a group of kids having a mini-garage sale. I remember lemonade stands from my childhood. Seems a rite of passage, trying to make a little change by selling something from your driveway.
As for me, I’ve always been a strange kid. And, my attempt with a sales stand was a pretty good indication of how strange I was as a kid. What did I try to sell? Worms. Yeah, um, I didn’t make any money that day. Hmm . . . I wonder where Joe gets is fondness for worms and bugs? Perhaps he’ll have a bug stand in our driveway one day. May he have better luck with sales than I did.
Charlie went to the doctor for his 4yr check-up, this week. The poor kid had to have five shots. Five. Before he received the shots, he was asking everyone he saw, “Are you going to give me a shot today?” And, because he was asking the wrong person, the person could answer honestly, “No.” However, when the last nurse left us in the patient room, Charlie became increasingly nervous. “Why are we sitting here still?” He asks. And, then I broke the news to him.
The crying started as soon as he received the sad news. And, he was still whimpering when the nurse walked in the room. My heart ached for him. I remember my childhood shots. I remember starting the tears as soon as I saw the doctor press the button for his assistant. All he had to do was press. the. button. WAAAAAAAH!!!!!
During the shots, I held his hands and tried my best to reassure him he was going to be OK. Seeing and hearing Charlie cry and scream broke my heart. Like selling things from your driveway, seems getting shots is another type of rite of passage. I believe in the immunization practice, and I believe I am doing what is best for our boys. Still. Shots suck, and watching your children get shots sucks more than getting a shot.
Thankfully, the boys won’t get shots again (baring any unforeseen incidents and accidents) until their 11th birthday. Coincidentally, Joe asked me this morning, “Mommy. Will the shots hurt as much or less when I am 11?” Poor kid. His next shot is in 6yrs, and he is already concerned. (He takes after his Mom.)
“Mommy!” He exclaimed. “Guess what I just saw?”
“What?” I asked.
“You were able to see a caterpillar in those trees?” I asked, wondering how he could see something so small from across the way.
“Well,” he began. “I have eaten alot of carrots this week. Can I have more tonight?”