Monday, July 26, 2010

"I Hate Pink Ribbons"

FORT WAYNE, INDIANA - The above is actually a direct quote from someone who was trying to golf on a day that his country club was hosting an event to raise funds for breast cancer. Nope, not kidding. He didn’t say it because he was a) moved by the display of the ribbons, b) had someone in his life who had endured a journey through cancer or c) was impressed with the herculean effort displayed by the team organizing the event. No, no, no, gentle readers. He said it because he thought they were too distracting on this beautiful day and might get in the way of his golf.

If I may, I’d like to wax a teensy bit snarky on this one. When the organizing committee told me of this statement, they had sad eyes and were looking for my comment. I said, unabashedly; "Yeah, I hate them too." What I didn’t say was "I hate them too, because I hate breast cancer. If you want to ante up, big man, and come make a nice hefty donation that might turn the tide to research and we find a cure, I will personally come and remove every pink ribbon within a 5-mile radius of your precious eyesight."

But I remember my mom, and Jenny Lynn, and so many others we have lost to this rotten disease, and I don’t say that out loud. I don’t go out to the golf course and track down this miscreant. I just say to the team something like this: “What a wonderful life he has had, this man. It’s the middle of a work day, and he is able to be out on a golf course on a lovely day. Clearly, no work to worry about, no house to clean, no one to answer to. He has no connection to cancer, he has had what can only be described as a pretty darned good life. I hope that he is never touched by it. That his life of ease continues and he never has to know what it's like to be sitting in a hospital on a day like today with someone he loves. Good for him. But good for us too – because even though we have had to worry about things, we are still here fighting for others. And are able to enjoy this day, just like him. But in a much more productive way."

I hate pink ribbons, too, Mister Grumpypants. But not because they get in the way of a golf game. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dancing with the Devil (version 2.0)

INDIANAPOLIS - So last week, he says to me with a furrowed brow "We are a little concerned about this one, Heidi" – a little concerned. And well you should be, Dr. George, my wonderful genius oncologist. You thought perhaps you found my old nemesis, my arch-enemy, rival, villain, dark passenger. You suspected that my cancer had returned. Thank heavens, the test just came back ok.

I had it all planned in my head: This time around it will be different. This time, I can take just about any kind of preventative/helpful/make-you-better-sooner medicine because this time when I go through cancer treatment, I am not pregnant. This time, I want as much surgery as I can possibly get. I want to walk out this time looking like Jessica Simpson, if you know what I mean. If I’m going to go all the way, I want to do it looking fab-u-lous. While I’m under for the rest of the mastectomy, what say we toss in a tummy tuck and whatever else you think needs a tune-up? That was my game plan – I had it all worked out

So I am doing the dance with NED. I would really like, God, if at all possible, to see my children (all of them) graduate from college. I know the original request I had was just to meet Noah after chemo, just to see his little face and kiss him. But now I’m getting more selfish. The more I am around my children, the more I like them. And want to see more of them. Call me greedy, but I would like to see how they turn out. And get many more kisses. And hear them call me 'mama' all the time, and ask for cookies and climb on my lap for no reason at all. I have so many sweet little reasons to stick around. So thank you for NED. And for those children.

I have my dancing shoes on, NED. You can spin me around the dance floor. I won’t even mind if you step on my toes, you handsome devil.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stuff that Matters

WARSAW, INDIANA - I have known a few people who judge others with a certain criteria in mind. How clean your house is, how large your house is, what kind of stuff you have in your house, etc. In the past, those judgments would have caused me undue stress and concern; oh gosh, I’m not stacking up. I’m sorry, I’ll get cracking on that!

Not.any.more. I looked around this weekend and realized that all the things that make people like that turn up their noses are exactly the kind of things that give me joy. And I'd like to tell you why, as briefly and dispassionately as I can muster.

  • THE SOFA WITH THE BIG TEAR AND RED SMUDGES. It’s got a tear that I can’t fix, but the pillow covers that up. It means that my family and I have a comfy place to sit and look out at my backyard. The red smudge is from someone’s play-dough. The stain won’t come out, but every time I see it, it makes me think of my little ones. So the sofa is staying.

  • Yep, I know. The perfect woman wouldn’t have them there. Luckily, I’m not her, and more to the point I’VE NEVER MET HER. This means that I decided to go outside with my kids and talk to them in the warm sunshine while they played. We all talked and laughed and were totally silly for hours and hours. It was such a full day, we all went to bed tired but happy. Dishes don’t matter, but my life does. I’ll get them in the morning. So the dishes are staying.

  • STAINED CARPET. It looks like a rainbow exploded by the fireplace. And there is a trail of coffee that I can’t get out no matter how hard I try. This means that my children had a playdate with play-dough (seems to be all over my house, right? ) on a cold winter day right in front of a warm fire. They were happy and quiet and no one with four children and a coffee-drinking husband should have white carpet anyway. Yes, the carpet is clean, it’s just not the color of its origin. I’ll replace it when I can afford it. So, for now, the carpet is staying.

  • OLD BAKEWARE. It’s not really old, it just looks that way. Every chance I get, I bake with my kids. If I’m home, that means every weekend. So you might not think that cookie sheet is pristine and satisfactory, but what that means is that we’ve made more chocolate chip and sugar cookies than can be counted. More importantly, we give some away every time. We share our what we have, that’s a rule my mama taught me, and now I’ve been able to pass to my children. So the bakeware is staying.

  • LAUNDRY. It’s never-ending. But what that means is, of course, that we have more than enough. We are blessed far more than most of the world with such things, and we so often forget that. It means that while I know I have chores to do, I have better things to occupy my time. Please refer to ‘dishes in the sink’ for more details. So the laundry is staying.

I’m not perfect, but I don’t think I am going to apologize for that. Instead, I think I will try to squeak out as many wonderful, joyful memories as I can with the lifetime I’ve been given. So the happiness is staying.