I’ve been blissfully happy this week, and too busy to blog!
Three days with Marty and her wonderful boys, full of action and adventure and play, all within my little house. We did leave one day to venture to Ikea, and it was all colors and corners and wonderful things – and of course the long walk to the checkout with preschoolers. :-) But we had a marvelous time, just being together and playing with our little ones. Little Bear missed preschool (I don’t even know how many times) in favor of play with our friends. Our old friend Beth came to visit, and we told stories of times gone by and marveled at how things had changed. Marty and I were mistaken for sisters – twice. She loved my boys, and I hers, and I protected one fiercely from a man at the metro station intent on (verbally) pushing his anti-gay philosophies in front of impressionable little ones. I say that not to brag, but to remember. We must teach the children tolerance and love, and to remember that God is love, and we are to love one another, as we have been taught by words and by example, being loved ourselves.
Yes, the last two weeks have been all mixed up with Bible and friends and difficult scriptures (the blind man, healed, and Lazarus, raised from the dead, both in RCIA and on Sunday) and hope and fear and fearing to hope. I had my scans on Friday, and I marked my 1 year anniversary since my last surgery on Thursday, and I celebrated only by not thinking about it at all, and by siezing opportunities to LIVE as much as I could.
Bon came to town Thursday night, arriving just as our government was about to shut down. I lay in my bed Thursday afternoon and evening, exhausted from a trip to Union Station with the three darling little boys, Marty, and C, and wondered how I would even be able to drive over to see her. But on Friday, I had my scans and wanted so much to LIVE strong and get out of the house, and I drove to U Maryland, where Theorizing the Web was to take place later that day. We met and I liked her immediately, not surprisingly, since we’ve been friends since 2006, never mind the fact that we had never even met before.
We talked so long and so much about the differences in our government that I suggested we go see it! We skipped the Capitol, it being full of angry men refusing to compromise, but I took her to the Library of Congress, my favorite place in the world, a palace of words, and she proclaimed it beautiful, a temple to knowledge, and we stood in the atrium for moments that felt like forever, soaking in the monument to learning, adventure, work, and books built in 1897, capturing a distinctly American era, with its ptuiis (small sculptured cherubs) holding books and bows and the telephone. We listened to Tom the Tour Guide, a lovely retired man who clearly loved books as much as we, and he taught us tidbits not only about the building but about America’s strong and proud history, and we reveled in the opportunity to be surrounded by creations of past scholars and artists, and with others who also appreciated such things. We paused for a moment afterwards in the downstairs hallway with Science and Family at one end, and Poetry at the other, accented inexplicably with a giant collage of technology – flat screens from floor to ceiling – and marveled at how we each felt immediately at home. We walked to Union Station in the rain, gawking at the Supreme Court and the Capitol on the way, covered as it was with what we now knew should have been the Liberty Cap – proposed twice – ever the symbol of fights for freedom, that would have been preserved forever on our Capitol if Jefferson Davis had not stood in the way of early designs. And now it is gone. We walked, and talked about the flowering cherry and pear trees, and the lilac trees in PEI, and Oscar and Posey and Widget and Little Bear, and then the homeward train came to a stop, and a magical afternoon was over.
I slept again Friday night, after our traditional Friday Night Pizza with the boys, and woke rested yet still exhausted. The boys came back in and snuggled with C and me for an hour, just wanting to be with us, and us with them.
After a time, I got up and went to a double baby shower, thrown for Minky and also for Jess, and had the most amazing time with Justice Stacey and UrbanMama, TechSavvyMama and TeachMama, Laundress Sue and Stimey, and I tried not to think about anything else, but the scan results weighed on me, I have to admit. I came home ready to make a memory with my kids, and we watched Star Wars together, snuggled on the couch, for their very first time, and it was magical.
but then Old Ben (Obi Wan) died in the movie, and Little Bear had lots of questions as I snuggled him to sleep last night. “Mommy, why did that man die?” He was very old, my sweet. He had finished what he was meant to do. “Anyone else die?” Well, my sweet, everyone dies. (This was the first I had told him this; he has been exposed to more than he ever should have been, with my cancer fight; the least I could do, I thought, was to shield him from needless death until he was old enough to understand. But now he was asking. It was time.) “No, Mommy. Not Mommies! Mommies never die!” he exclaimed, strong, confident words from within my arms. Oh, my sweet. Everyone dies, someday. “But not mommies. Not til they’re very, very old?” (Oh, my heart. Bent if not broken.) Mommy will try, sweetheart. (He was quiet. It was time.) But if I do? I will watch over you from Heaven. I will love you always, and I will love you from Heaven if I must. I will watch over you always, and my love will be with you in your heart.
And then he suddenly fell asleep, and I could not tell his thoughts. Across the room, I heard Widget sucking his thumb, which he does when he’s thinking hard and forgets that he’s a big boy now, and so I crossed the room and talked with him for a while. But he is 6, and guards his thoughts, so I do not know if it was the right thing or not. I want so badly to reassure them but not lie to them. To not promise that I will always be here and not die until they are all grown up. Because I can’t promise that, and I will not make promises that I know will be broken, at a time when I cannot reach them to hold them in my arms and comfort them as I have so very many times. And so, I make promises that I can keep. I love you. I will always love you. My love is always in your heart. Remember that, my dear ones. My love is always in your heart.
And as children’s church this morning took up the story of Lazarus, I dashed downstairs to be there with my Widget (C was with LB), not even knowing what I feared, but when he raised his hand to share, it was only that his dog had died, many years ago, and I breathed a sigh of relief. When I rejoined him in the pew, I held him on my lap and hugged him, never wanting to let go.