The whole family went with Widget for his first day of first grade this morning, walking two by two in the morning sun. Widget held my hand as we rounded the corner of his school and found the line for the first graders, and then he disappeared into the sea of kids hugging each other, goofing around, and making each other laugh as they stayed in their wiggly line. We all waited until the bell rang, parents as happy as the kids, with our own share of happy hugs, cooing at the new babies, and making each other laugh. Then, quickly as we had arrived, the kids entered the school, 5th graders first, then 4th, then 3rd, then 2nd, and then our own precious babies, disappearing into the red brick building as fast as they could, loaded backpacks and overflowing Target bags flying behind them.
It was done. Widget and his friends were now elementary schoolers, and all was well.
We lingered to chat a little longer. Then, as we began to leave with Little Bear, the school principal came flying out the double doors, stopping me with her voice. “Susan! You’re here!” she said, with a grin as wide as the flag out front. “You must have nine lives, lady!” We laughed and hugged, and I felt good about leaving my children here once again, and I smiled all the way to the car.
I understand her surprise. I know she prays for me, and she knows that this cancer – and its treatment – push me to the brink often. I feel terrible and homebound and sick in bed for days – and then the meds kick in, or settle in, or we rally, and I am able to do things like take my kid to school (with help), or take him bowling for his birthday.
Widget’s birthday was this weekend, and his request was to go duckpin bowling with our family and a couple of friends. I rested, and rallied, and we went, bowling a complete game and then doling out the quarters as the kids played old-fashioned video games, like Frogger, and Donkey Kong, and a racing game (“Let’s bring lots of 25 centses!” they had asked before we left, and they opened their banks all by themselves for the treat.). I played pinball, and then rested in the seat of a driving game that didn’t work, as the kids laughed loudly in the little room around me. I would never have thought that I could do this when I began writing my last post a few days ago – or when I was too pooped to write last week – or when I had a bad reaction to new meds last Monday and Tuesday. But yesterday, I could. We took Little Bear bowling for the first time ever, which surprised me, actually, because we had taken Widget so often when he was littler, and I was in remission. The time had slipped away, and Bear hadn’t gotten to go before. But he did this time, and both Bear and Widget had a fantastic time, and my husband and I did too, and the resulting sleep all afternoon was worth it.
It was worth it.
When my children read this as teenagers, if they cry at the other posts, I’m sorry, but sometimes you have to understand the bad in order to see how very, very good the good can be. Taking Widget to school today and celebrating his birthday at the bowling alley yesterday was very, very good. I wish I could post pictures of Widget’s first day or Bear’s tough-guy bowling stance as he waited for the ball to hit the pins, getting spare after spare, but I don’t, for their safety. All I can show you is this picture my husband snapped as I celebrated a spare, a strike, and the sheer joy of being out with my family, who I love so very, very much.