Playing hooky with my friends

3 #ReverbBroad posts for the price of one!

June 11
If you were to play hooky from work today, what would you do instead?
Krissy

I would actually need at least four days to play hooky. One day to drive to New Jersey to pick up my sisters (my first best friends). Two days to spend at the beach, while “down the shore.” One day to drive back to reality.

While at the beach, I would sleep, read, and eat myself into oblivion. After a day of “sunbathing” (with full-on sunscreen and a huge hat, because now I know better!), we would eat seafood and drink ice-cold beer. Then, we would stroll up and down the boardwalk. I would not care that the sea air was making my hair too curly. I would eat a Kohr Brother’s orange & vanilla soft-serve custard, on a cake cone with rainbow sprinkles. I would fall asleep with a smile on my face, while the ocean lulled me into a deep, dreamless sleep.

June 15
Who was your first best friend?
Kristen

I always struggle with questions that force me to quantify or label things. First, best, favorite…I am not a fan of absolutes. But, this absolute question was actually easy. I am fortunate to have two amazing younger sisters whom I also count on as my best friends. It was not always this way, I am sure. Of course we fought, and teased, and were mean. That is what sisters do. But, under all of that sibling stuff, there has always been genuine love and affection for each other. We have always cheered for one another. We have supported each other through break-ups (“Of course he is a jerk! Let’s burn all the stuff he ever gave you!” True story.) We stood up for each other at weddings (nice bridesmaids’ dresses) and have consoled and counseled each other through motherhood, breastfeeding, work-life negotiation, and suburbia. My mother was right, “there is nothing like a sister.”

June 17
What three things do you want more of in your life? What three things do you want less of?
Krissy

More

1. Friends. I had no idea that this time in my life would be so isolating. I have friends. My sisters. A few from high school. A few from college. One from graduate school. One from my year as a Holy Cross Associate (Americorps Volunteer). One from my first job. But, all of these people are far away. Across the country far away. I am slowly meeting people at work and at my sons’ school. But, I would not necessarily call these current people friends. I have a lot of acquaintances. I have a lot of women in loose circles whom I respect and admire. I have a lot of people that I would really like to get to know better. I have a mentor (thank GOD for her!). But right now, I would really love a soul-sister. A fellow girlfriend I can go walking with, get my nails done with, have drinks with, call up and vent about my day with. This type of friendship is hard to come by and takes time to nurture and develop.

2. Exercise. The mental and physical benefits of this are self-explanatory.

3. Organization/Motivation. Confession: I am not exactly sure what I am doing with my time these days. I feel busy all the time. Distracted. Yet, very little seems to be getting done. There is always laundry to fold, dishes to wash, toilets to scrub, a garden (first one ever) to weed and water, maternity clothes to donate, on and on and on. I don’t want to fall into whining (too late?) so I will stop here. I would love to be organized and motivated.

Less

Gold Ribbon

Kids get cancer, too!

1. Childhood cancer.

2. Childhood cancer.

3. Childhood cancer.

Tarantulas, Sharks, Monkeys, and….Relapse

#ReverbBroads2012 Prompt for Day 2: What gives you nightmares?

In general, I am not afraid of spiders. I don’t like them, but I am also not the type to stand on top of the toilet seat or dining room table while some man comes in to rescue me from a daddy long legs. I just wad up a bunch of TP and attack it. Then, flush it away and moving on. However, tarantulas are in an entirely different category. Just the thought of one gives me goosebumps and makes me feel nauseous (nauseated?). I lived in the desert in AZ for a year and the entire time I was there I was irrationally afraid that a tarantula would make its way into our house. I think most of this fear stems from that episode of The Brady Bunch, when they all go to Hawaii, and a tarantula ends up on Peter’s face. Anyone who grew up in the late 70s/early 80s knows exactly what I am talking about. Creepy! I think it’s the hair. On the tarantula, not Peter 😉

I grew up in NJ. Our vacation every summer was two weeks at “the shore.” (For those uninformed, this is the real Jersey Shore, not that trashy MTV show that ruined it for all of us Jerseyans and forever tainted the rest of the world.) I have also seen the movie Jaws. So, there you go. Pretty natural fear of sharks. Although I am an excellent swimmer, I never ventured too far out into the ocean. Why risk it? Interesting side note, my husband is obsessed with the Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.” Stays up until 2 or 3am because he.cannot.turn.away. Then he has nightmares for a week and I get to hear all about them. And then I have nightmares.

I think monkeys are creepy. I love chimpanzees and find gorillas fascinating. But monkeys creep me out. I think it is the annoying oooohhhh-ahhhhhh sound they make. Ugh. Cannot stand it. You know that scene in Toy Story 3 when they tape up the monkey so they can escape from day care? Sets my teeth on edge. Blah! I have to cover my ears when we watch it.

I hesitate to write this next part. I am trying hard to have less cancer and more hope in my life. I am trying not to make every single post about our family’s journey with childhood cancer. But, me being the rule-follower that I am, I feel I must really answer the question.

What gives me nightmares?

That my son’s cancer will relapse and he will die.

Our older son is a cancer survivor. This is a miracle. He is a miracle. He is a fighter. He is a survivor. He was stage 4, with a very aggressive diagnosis (Rhabdomyosarcoma).

It is hard to release these words to the universe. As if somehow saying them out loud might make them true. Silly. Irrational. Even saying that makes me sound crazy. I know this. But once your life has been touched by cancer, everything takes on new meaning, both good and bad. And, you don’t go back to your old life or your old self, because neither of them exist. While my son is two years off treatment and has been cancer free since October 2009, the fear of relapse is an absolute terror that I keep at bay every day. It is a dark shadow that creeps into my room and my dreams at night. When I kiss him goodnight, my heart stops. I bury my face deep into his neck and I inhale. I am trying to memorize his smell. I rub my hand all over his head, which thankfully now has hair. I put my hand over his heart and try to match its rhythm to my own. I kiss his cheek, rub his back. And I thank God that I have been given another day with him.

At night, I have dreams of him running across fields of sunflowers, flying kites on the beach with his brother and grandpa, swimming in the ocean with my mom, going to college, getting married. I have nightmares that all of this will be stolen from us.

I am not sure what to say next. There is no Hollywood ending to this movie. There is no bow to wrap this package. It is my life. I choose to fully live it. Nightmares and all.