I thought now would be a good time to share family news. I figure, why wait for a Holiday when every day is potentially special and relevant.
On Saturday, D, eleven, learned how to finger knit. Since then he can usually be seen with a trail of multicolored yarn stretched out behind him, his head tilted to one side as he concentrates on the work of making his weave tighter or looser. He has his sights set on learning to knit with needles and eventually making scarves for everyone he knows.
M, seven, has developed a surprising and wonderful sense of humor, his wit delivered just so. He is also best friends with my eighteen year old cat who he pets and tends to with the utmost gentleness.
It’s difficult to get a pic of them together as they are both in motion between being pet and petting – Suffice it to say, she’s a more contented cat for his affections
In June, we moved into a 27 foot travel trailer, a complete home. I’ve even baked several batches of cookies and a few cakes since we arrived at the campgrounds. In a few days we are planning on rolling to Texas.
A third term of the Children’s Theater Company is in full swing. I’ve been privileged to teach the virtues class and generally be a part of things the last two Saturdays. Through this I have made three new friends, two little girls, M who is eight, T who is five, and their mother S. It was S who taught D to knit last weekend. During Appreciations right after rehearsal, M looked over at me and said in the most earnest and kind tone, “Heidi, We will really miss you when you move.” (to be so surrounded by love is a true gift – yes, I’m crying just remembering her sweet face)
Our family has officially entered the twenty-first century. We enjoyed our first Skype call with our family who moved to China over the summer. What uproarious laughter across continents! Marcus, the very alive hand puppet got to visit too, at the request of my youngest niece. Marcus just could not figure out how his friends had shrunk enough to fit in that little computer screen. Later that night, D and M were able to help Marcus understand about moving pictures.
My dad has been doing well. He was around the night of the Skype call and was truly awed and delighted. He has been helping around the house, focusing on keeping the dishes washed, litter clean, and garbage taken out. He has been warmed at the outpouring of love he and my mom have received in the last few days.
He just wishes the circumstances were different. My mom’s cancer seems to have returned, after almost five years of being cancer-free. She had a biopsy this morning, but her doctor is certain enough of what he sees on the scan that he has cleared space for his medical team to act fast and get her started with treatment right away. I guess between the pictures available to him, her pain levels, and the fact that she lost weight recently, he is not willing to wait around and see.
That play she wrote back in 1976, the one she and her friend have turned into a musical for the Theater Company to perform this term, is really a message to help the audience see that happiness is a choice. “If you’re not happy in this day, for what other day do you wait?” Now my mom gets to do her best to live the truth of her play’s message. God, Please help her.
My mom and B, co-producers of the Theater Company, enjoying the chaos before fireworks on July 4th
I’m not yet sure how I feel. Sad of course, but there’s so much to do between our own preparations for travel, helping my mom line up all the support her and my dad will need, and the nuts and bolts of daily life that keep needing to be tended; meal preparation, cleaning, laundry – at both residences. I feel tender, that I must move carefully in the world today, so that I may honor the immense new reality we are faced with, regardless of the ultimate outcome.
When I think of writing in letters to friends who want to be informed, “She’s in good spirits,” because my mom truly is, I get an image of her as helpless physically, smiling out at her loved ones from a neatly-made-up bed. But this is not the reality. She is driving, attending rehearsals, meetings, running minimal errands, and keeping up with concerned and loving friends on the computer, cell phone, and in person. She has re-dedicated herself to making nutrition a top priority for the best chance of healing, and her grandsons can often be found being rambunctious, creative, loud, and wonderful right near her comfy chair.
Always an interesting creation or conversation when these kiddos are in the room
Other than moving slowly, adjusting to the positive and negative effects of pain medication, and being in constant pain at some level, things are pretty much the same, except that everything is different.
“Be present” is an immediate and urgent message now. It is not a nice sentiment, good advice to be worked toward, or a thing to meditate on idly. It is what we are doing involuntarily, prompted by all our love for my mother rushing forward within each of us.
On a physical level, I now understand that life is lived in an ocean of love.
We appreciate all prayers for healing for my mom and strength for my dad.