Monday, January 28, 2013

Dear Calliope: month 2

Dear Calliope,

Hello my dear, sweet girl. I love you so much, so deeply, so unimaginably are sleepily nursing in my arms as I type this with one thumb on my iPhone, and the splendid, awe inspiring reality of you is more than I can take. You are so amazing, my super smiley, chipmunk cheeked little girl...I look back now to the time around when you were conceived, and I cannot believe that I ever thought our family was complete without you. Cannot fathom how I could ever possibly have feared your arrival. You, my dear, are an incalculably necessary piece in our family puzzle, and a part of my life that I simple could not do without. There is was a big blot of inexplicable emptiness in me that I used to try in vain to fill with new ideas, but now I find brimming with inspiration and was you, that's what I was third child, my little muse, who smiled and laughed right from the start. Who delights so much in being with her older sisters, who of course dote on her with such pride and love. Who will giggle at the tickle of her baba's beard and snuggle into the arms of the many people who love her so.
You, my little Calliope, have given me the gift of believing in myself in a way that transcends "impossible" like never before. I can't wait to see how you will grow, and how our family -and each of us individually-will transform as your gifts and strengths and fears emerge. We all love you like you'd never believe.
Sweet child, thank you for letting us share this adventure with you, and for sharing this journey with us.

I love you beyond forever and back.
Love always,

Saturday, January 19, 2013


My mom has a great laugh.

Historically, it's one of those things that you don't get to hear all that often.  She'll grin, chuckle, sort of giggle at things pretty often, but her full on, hearty laugh is a magical sound, one that makes your heart feel happy to the core, and it's an elusive phenomenon which gets obscured by stress, work, and her propensity for putting other people before herself.

It's this laugh that I intend to focus on from here on out.

Last night, mom's medical oncologist confirmed that she now has stage 4 metastatic cancer, the disease is no longer curable, and now it's a game of balancing treatment to prolong her life with restraint to provide her a quality of life worth living.

We don't know how long she has.  It could be weeks.  It could be years.

I, for one, am not ready to look at this as an end.  Not yet, anyway.  For now, I'm looking at this as a sign to shift gears; from here on out, let's try to make life as pleasant as possible, and hope we have the burden of keeping that outlook for years.

Let's make that laugh our new priority.  Finding that laugh will be our guide -whatever will bring us closer to hearing it is what we'll do.  Let's fill the world with as much of that sound as we possibly can.

Wherever she wants to be, I want to get her there.  Whatever she wants to learn, to eat, to experience, I want to find her a teacher, a chef, a friend.  Some things may be beyond comfort - tobagganing might be more painful than thrilling these days - but so what?  I don't care to focus on the "can't" anymore.  There is sooo much out there, so many other things that could generate such joy that it doesn't matter what she can't do now - there will always be something else that she can do, which may just tickle that laugh into existence.  And that is what matters.

So let's go forth, and enjoy.  There will be tears, of course-there will always be tears, but we will let them fall, and be glad that they can be shed, and then get up and return to our quest for that laugh.  And every time we find it, we'll count it as a triumph, and begin the search again.

I love you so much, mom.  Thank you, so much, for letting me share this journey with you.  I am so glad that I have such a wonderful role model in you, someone who taught me how to be a great mother to my own daughters, who let me grow and flourish in such a way that I never had the years of teenage resentment towards you that so many girls have towards their moms.  I am so thankful that I can still turn to you every day, for advice, for memory, for love, support or a joke...

I appreciate having you in my life so much - am so unbelievably grateful to have you in my life - in every moment, and I will continue to cherish every moment that I have with you for as long as I possibly can.  And I will still benefit from being your daughter long after that.  And my girls will continue to benefit from being your granddaughters long after I'm gone, too.

I wish you peace, in every step of this journey, and my heart will be with you for all of it, even where my feet can't follow.

So let's get started.

What would you like to do first?