Thursday, January 23, 2014

There's no crying in deer hunting...

Guys, there are scenes from cancer that would break your heart: Chris sitting at the window watching the other men play basketball with our sons and nephews. There are so many things he may not be able to do again - basketball, skiing, hiking (also bowling and roller skating, but he's reconciled himself to those losses). So when the men of my family organized a trip to take David and Chris on their first hunt, I was... verklempt.

They had such an amazing time. My dad, my uncles, one of my brothers, my cousin and nephews were all there. There were weapons, rude noises, lots of red meat, and, apparently, with no moms in the picture, unlimited cookies. David and Chris each shot their first deer. David got a couple of wild hogs, too. Evidently, Chris is an excellent shot with a pistol. David came home bragging on his dad's prowess with a gun. They both came home refreshed, freer. It was like they got to check out of cancer-land for a weekend, and something unseeable loosened its grip on Chris.

I know there's no crying in deer hunting, but to see my husband and son doing something manly, something they've always wanted to do, that has nothing to do with cancer, was so overwhelmingly good - real-life-good not cancer-good* - that I'm afraid I cried. I felt like I needed Tom Hanks to yell at me.

Are you crying? Are you crying? ARE YOU CRYING? There's no crying! THERE'S NO CRYING IN HUNTING!

Men come alongside one another in a way that's beautiful and foreign to me. It often seems to look like standing together and defiantly doing normal stuff in the face of terrible circumstances.

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galations 6:2

*Cancer-good is best described by example: "You only have to wait 30 minutes to start the medicine that makes you feel like you have ebola."


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Incentivized by a 7 year old...

For the past year and a half, Bryan has had me on an incentive plan.  He doles out kisses at bedtime based on his assessment of my performance that day.  He keeps me updated on the maximum and the average number I can expect.  A few months ago he had to recalibrate and bring the max down some because he decided the nightly kiss routine was taking too long.  He's serious about his system.  The maximum amount of kisses is reserved for truly exceptional mom behavior, 
Bryan:  To get the full amount, you have to do something like take me to Disney World and Chuck E Cheese.  
and he insists on taking into account all the information from the day.  He's unmoved by emotional pleas.  His system generates some interesting bedtime conversation.

A few months ago, on a day when I made cookies, allowed extra video game time and took them to the pool, I still only got a little over the average.
Me:  Seriously?!?  The pool, video games and cookies, and that's all I get? 
Bryan:  (sympathetic but with a hint of condescension) Yeah, but spinach.
I had served spinach with dinner.

Like any good manager, he gives me advice on how I can improve my numbers.  Last night was a beautiful, clear night.  We had planned on watching Amazing Race, but I took the telescope out instead and showed the boys the surface of the moon and Jupiter.  You could even see a few of Jupiter's moons.  At bedtime I got a few kisses over the average.
Me:  Did I get so many because I showed you Jupiter and the moon? 
Bryan:  Yeah.  But you could have got more if I could have also watched Amazing Race.  Like maybe next time you could plan better and serve dinner earlier and we could watch Amazing Race and do the telescope.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pulling on my blogging shoes...

Okay guys. I've been waiting for something really inspired or witty to come to me but have finally realized that I've just gotten out of the habit of blogging and I need to lower the bar for myself. So this is me tugging on my blogging shoes and limping through my first post-holiday blog.

Chris is doing well... not real-life-good but cancer-good. He did a cycle after Thanksgiving and it was okay. There weren't any of the horrible side effects we dealt with in the fall. He didn't even have to take the meds that give him crazy drug eyes. We expected that he'd have to be on chemo over Christmas, but given his record of not responding to chemo the way anyone expects, his doctor didn't want to foist him off on a colleague over Christmas. So, everyone (especially the boys) was thrilled to get Chris for Christmas. It was a wonderful imperfectly perfect holiday with a mish-mash of holy moments and just enough reality to keep me from getting insufferably satisfied with myself. There was a Sunday evening service when, during a carol, I looked over and saw Jacob asleep on Chris' shoulder. The sight of all those boys I love sitting together in church made my soul happy. Really, I should look at them all in dim lighting with soulful music in the background more often. We delivered cookies at the hospital on Christmas Eve, and my favorite barista - the one who always gives me the employee discount, was working, and I was able to thank her for making the coffee that brought me so much comfort over the past year.

But then, those holy moments only come in snatches. I got the Christmas Eve service time wrong, so we were late and had to sit in the lobby. One of the boys told me that in the future he'd rather not deliver cookies at the hospital because it's really not that fun. Two of them fought over who got to hand the cookies to the security guard. The winner of that debate got his in the end, though. The security guard was a gregarious and affectionate woman who insisted on giving him a big hug. Rand dropped a full glass of water on my toe on Christmas. It hurt so bad I had to leave the room to keep from cussing at him. I was sure it was broken. I thought about swiping some of Chris' serious drugs. I whined. A lot. By the next morning it was clear I was fine.

Chris: How's your toe?

Me: Fine. How's your cancer?

Wow. That's a lot of words and we're not even caught up yet. I'm going to pick up the pace. Chris did another round of chemo about a week and a half ago. It was okay. It's still chemo, but it's punch you in the gut and let you recover kind of chemo, not punch you in the gut, kick you in both shins, stomp on your face and then pull out your teeth on the way to the hospital kind of chemo.

Overall, Household H is doing okay. It's starting to feel like this chemo road may have an end at some point.


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