Sunday, September 29, 2013

you CAN have your cake and eat it too

Today is Stevie Wonder's birthday.  We don't normally make a big deal out of birthdays, and never really have.  Well except for the Wilton Cake Decorating Course I took at home when the kids were little.  And all that really meant was that they didn't have a whole lot of say about the type of cake they got, because it was whatever I was practicing at the time (poor Jim got a cake that looked like someone had puked a bouquet of flowers all over it because I was learning how to make flowers).  We make sure there is still cake (that I DO NOT decorate) and make contact with the person on their birthday to send them wishes and love.

So yesterday Steve got an ice cream cake created at the Dairy Queen and served up by Jen after the kids' soccer games were over and we were back at her house.  Steve is the kind of Gramps that believes in equality between the grand kids, so he bought a birthday cake at Wal Mart today and brought it home. So Jack and John could have cake of course....

Except that I know the truth...we couldn't bring that other cake home from Jen's like she wanted us to (it would have been a puddle in the back seat before we got here), and it's been burning a hole in Steve's brain since we left her house.  And today is the OFFICIAL day after all.  Stevie Wonder is 66.  So he will have cake to eat after all...which is what he really wanted...after all. :-D

I am thankful that back in February, when his heart rate was 27, Steve got a pacemaker and a new lease on life, and the chance to spend many more birthdays with us.

I am thankful for our years together, our children and grandchildren, and the love we all share.

I am thankful Steve wears bifocals.  (So that when he told me to toss him the remote today, arrogantly telling me that he was the only one who could correctly fast forward past the commercials, I was fortunate enough to see him miss an easy catch and watch it hit his crotch and double him over groaning for a few minutes.)  He blamed the bifocals of course.

The laugh I had that lasted way too long, was MY cake for the day.
Wretch and Steve at Point Arena Lighthouse, California is good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Friday, September 27, 2013


the air is warm 
but the first faint crispness of autumn
hits your senses

awakens the eyes, the nose, the ears

keenly you look forward 
to the change of season
and a break 
from summer's last stagnant heat

life is good -cath
find me on twitter @jonesbabie

Saturday, September 14, 2013

random acts of kindness

I heard the trembling and tears in her voice as she told me..

"It's cancer, Mom."

I felt like I had been punched in the gut.  I couldn't catch my breath.  It had been almost 14 years since I heard the word cancer from dad.  My mind was racing as Jen went on to tell me the details, and I could feel my shoulders and neck tighten, throbbing with pain.

I knew that our journey as a family had just taken a different path.  When someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, it settles into your brain, invading your waking thoughts every little while, and keeping sleep at bay.  It is like an unwanted guest you can't get to leave.

Jen went on to tell me what the plan of action was.  For me, a nurse, that is always my focus.  What can we do?  What must we do?  This invader, this evil, had to be removed from my child.  My perfect child.  I wanted it GONE.  So I listened, and remained calm, and supportive.  Behaved like a nurse, and tried to push down my emotions, the mother in me.

I have had a hard time writing about this.  That phone call was a couple weeks ago, the surgery a couple weeks before that.  Time passes, we plan another surgery for next month, and deal with things that crop up.  Such as Jen's voice being permanently changed due to scarring on the vocal chord.  And the fact that after each surgery she must be mostly mute for ten days, something that isn't easy with 8 year old twins.

Along the way we have had some laughter.  Such as Duncan telling his mom he didn't want her to leave them (die) because then he wouldn't have a home, and would have to live in a cardboard box on the street.  And Michael telling Jen that with her new, deep voice she could become a famous country singer.

I have to laugh, to keep tears at bay.  To keep the fear at arm's length.  I laugh to keep my mind from racing and going in directions I don't want it to go.  And realizing once again, that sometimes being a nurse is a curse.  Knowledge you can't unlearn can cause more anxiety when someone you love is sick.  As it did when my dad told me almost 14 years ago that he had cancer.  I don't want to know.  I just want to focus on a cure, and helping my child to be well.

And I think about 2 things that have happened recently.  The first was a stop at Starbucks the day after that phone call from Jen, when I had told Steve to get his stuff, we were going to spend the night.  (I had forgotten most of my things, so I had dirty hair and no makeup on when we started back home that morning.)  I was lost in my own thoughts, still in shock and feeling like a zombie.  Then it happened.

A random act of kindness.

The person in front of us paid for our Starbucks.  I have done that many times, but have never been the recipient of "paying it backward".  I was in shock when the barrista told us our tea and coffee was paid for.  I hollered "WHAT?"  and he repeated it.  I leaned around Steve and told him "I've done that before but no one has ever done that for me!  I'm shocked!"  The barrista just smiled and said "well now you have."  As we drove off, I felt overwhelmed.

That person, unknown to him or her, helped me on a day when I was about as low as I have ever been, and had no idea what an impact it made on me, how it raised my spirit.  I thought to myself, we never know what an effect our actions have on others, and how something as small as buying a cup of tea for a stranger, can change a day, and make a smile.  As it did for me that day.

A few days later, dad paid me a visit.  As I walked to my car, I looked down.  Right between my feet, was a message from dad.  I've had several over the years, and he always sends it when I need it the most.

A golf ball.  I knew at that moment that I wasn't alone, and dad still had hold of heart.

Thanks Dad, I needed that.

It will all be all right. is truly good. ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter