Pretending

Good evening, friends.

We left the house today. Packed up two cars, the family Lee, Pop Pop, the teeny twin grandmas, and Uncle Patrick and drove to the Cape. It was a moody, cozy day down there. Bernie gave the grand tour, the boys played with forgotten toys, and we drank red wine and hot tea and just enjoyed looking out of different windows. Going to the Cape in the winter always makes summertime seem mythical, but I couldn’t shake the very real memory many good times there in long hair and a bikini.

I can’t predict what is going to make me want to throw up and wonder why I left the house without drugs. It reminds me of how my Dedham-raised college friend spent years trying to mask her Boston accent, but then would get tripped up saying something she hadn’t practiced (like “Sears” or “re-tah-ded”) and be totally busted. There’s definitely a bit of me pretending to talk like the rest of you.

But then there’s Paige. Isn’t she fierce? And I had impromptu texts from ten of you today telling me you’re out there, and with me. And emails from amazing women who are on the other side of the disease and have the courage and generosity and patience to rehash it. For all of these reasons I didn’t have a full meltdown over my risotto and made it home to see all of these lovely messages.

Today, with great love and the utmost respect, I told my parents to go home. I’m going to need them a lot more later, and all of us could be doing more productive things than sitting around and staring at me. Bernie’s parents and family are arriving tomorrow with more support and love in the form of delicious food, energy work, many pots of tea, and probably a considerable amount of sitting around and staring at me. But I’m really looking forward to A-Ma fattening up Teddy and grilling my brother on his life and choices (“Why you smoke? You need to marry good, Chinese girl!” oh, and so many more). And as I giggle and escape to read these messages from you lovely people, I won’t be needing so much to pretend.

 

Cape House View… on a happier day

 

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Christmas Morning

The usual drill, as my brother, sister, and I got older, is that Dad gets up first. He’s only slightly more excited about Christmas than the youngest child in any house. He makes coffee, mimosas, a fire, and then badgers us to get moving. It was annoying as a teenager, endearing as a young parent (who could use the 6am cocktail), and now an adorable alliance between Pop Pop and his grandsons.

But lately, I’ve got the first crack at the coffee pot. At 4am I’m icing my armpit, waiting for the Advil to kick in, and feeling the puffy-eyed effects of a big boo hoo woe is me moment as we stuffed a shameful amount of presents around the tree last night. I found myself already wishing away the whole year. I selfishly want to fast forward to a re-organized, but cancer-free body and longer hair. I don’t want to NEED to drop to my knees and pray for strength. Last night’s cryptic answer was “let them help.” And I didn’t know if He meant my punch drunk, exhausted family doing 11th hour wrapping, or the Ativan and Vicodin on the bedside table. Maybe both.

As soon as the pain subsides and the sun comes up it will feel very The King is Born! and my tears will be shed for the zillions of velcro and suction nerf darts that will be stuck to everything through Lent and the occasional lego underfoot. Reading these messages is already pulling me toward a better, Joy to the World, mood. I love pictures of excited kids in new pajamas, and I will devour stories of your traditions, eccentric family members, unexpected gifts, and horrifying travel-with-babies moments. I love it all.

It’s 4:30. Probably not too early to wake up Dad.

 

My awesome Dad

Normal

This was my first blog post on the CarePages. It was 4am and I couldn’t stop shaking. Within a few hours I had 25 messages of love and support… and since that day, I haven’t stopped writing.

 

Brodie couldn’t sleep last night. Quite possibly because Teddy has pneumonia and when he isn’t asking heartbreaking and hilarious questions, he’s coughing his little head off. Brodie came into the bedroom to ask if I would rub his back (best request ever) and startled at the sight of my new hair (which is fabulous). But then he said, “Mommy, isn’t it funny how fast something can become normal?”

I’m meeting with my team of doctors today who plan to carve me up and fill me with poisons in the most loving way. Planning outfit.