September 1, 2011

Hey, Widget, how was your second day of first grade?


No, really, on a scale of 1, meaning terrible, to 10, meaning awesome, how was it?


he joyfully shouted, as he raced off to play with his little brother after school.

I could not be happier.

A beautiful day for a …

August 28, 2010

… wedding.  Birthday.  And maybe some time to write.

My only brother is getting married today.  John is marrying Anna, and it will be a beautiful outdoor wedding with friends and family in a beautiful space just before sunset in the town where they live.  The bride and groom will say “I do” and dance until midnight, with their groomsmen and bridesmaids and many of their closest friends and family surrounding them with love as they take this next step in their life.  Their parents will be there to support them and affirm them in their decision to marry.

I will not be there.  Although I am DELIGHTED and thrilled that they will be married, as much as it pains me to admit this, I will not be at my brother’s wedding, because I’m not allowed to travel during this first cycle of Chemo 2010.  Xeloda’s effects are not as predictable as other chemos (primarily because most of the other chemos are wicked tough on the body; the first two knocked me out pretty quickly in 2007); they depend a lot on how the medicine interacts with the body.  Since my body has never had Xeloda, my oncologist insisted that I stay close to home — close to her — for this first cycle of chemotherapy, and I was not allowed to travel. 

It’s breaking my heart not to be there with them today, and yet it wasn’t even a choice that could be made.  Since my recurrence was diagnosed in March, I’ve known that flying 3000 miles and then driving to attend this wedding would probably not be possible.  I held out hope, but when my oncologist said “No,” that was that.  The wedding will occur, we have wished them well, and when we all wake up tomorrow, they will be married

and we will be here at home.

We did celebrate today, not only calling the folks across the country to wish them well, but also with my oldest son, who turned the big SIX today.  We pulled together a (very) small celebration, and made little choices into Big Deals, and he has felt thoroughly loved and spoiled rotten today, just as a new SIX should be.  We celebrated with pizza and games and friends and our little family, and he was so happy.  He ends the day with good memories, new lego toys, new star wars toys, phineas and ferb playthings, a new book, and two new games that we can all play together.  He even has his very first chemistry kit (thanks to his cousins!), and all of us are pretty excited about playing with that.  We had a wonderful day, and I hope to write more about it tomorrow.

But for now, I close this day thinking about John and Anna and how they are starting a new life together, about how Widget stands at the gate of a new life, a life called Kindergarten, and about how Little Bear will love his teachers this Fall too, and how everyone is growing up.

Even me.  For as they all grow up and move on to the next step, so shall I.  I’m signing a new NASA contract this week, and I have work that will take me through the next few months.  I’m healthy enough to do it and to enjoy it, and I am all kinds of happy over the work that is to come.

I told the Women in Planetary Science in an email yesterday that September 1 was a new beginning, not just for academics, but for so many of us with even tenuous connections to the school year, and I, for one, am looking forward to it.

Congratulations, John and Anna, on the beginning of your new life together.  And to all of us, for whatever September and the future may bring.