These past few weeks, I’ve been mildly obsessed with the concept of “time” — rising too early, going to bed too late, rushing to meetings, getting three kids to three different places and timing their arrivals and pick ups just right, getting to karate/dance/soccer on time, and the finding time to make dinner somewhere in between work/activities/pick up/and bed. It’s also the start of the school year, which means both a new found schedule of time and a total chaos of “everything needs to happen NOW.”
My running schedule has also changed a bit, too. For a good stretch, I was waking up at 4:45am and meeting my pals Lisa and Chuck for a 5:15am run. Then, life interfered again, and I started running a little bit later with my co-worker, John Ross.
Life got busy, and those early morning quick runs turned into later, longer weekend runs. For the Boston Half Marathon, I have to complete the course in 2 hours and 30 minutes. Two hours and 30 minutes after the starting gun, they close down the entire set up — finish line and everything. Yes, Jorge will be carrying a ribbon with him so that I can cross an actual line well after that 2:30 mark!
I’ve also been somewhat amazed by how SLOW I am. I’ve run enough races to have a sense of finish-time, and I all of my training runs are much, much slower than any of my race times, despite the fact that I run much more and feel much stronger. Don’t worry, faithful Mb4M friends, I’m not totally beating myself up about it; I just have gotten used to sharing the truth – both bitter and sweet – with you!
The other, probably more significant, “fast” time that hit me today was that my doctor’s appointment is coming up on Wednesday. Yes, THAT doctor’s appointment! I made this appointment MONTHS ago — back in July when I knew I had to reschedule my series of pre-surgical appointments. On Wednesday, September 15, I have my first real pre-op visit. After that visit, I will have an actual surgery date. No more of this “sometime in late November or early December” answer. I’ll have an actual date.
Though I have been too busy to focus on this pre-op visit, I’m kind of pissed that it snuck up on me so dang fast! Work has been so chaotic that I’ve honestly taken it “one day at a time.” Well, doing so meant I didn’t look weeks ahead, like I usually do. So, yes, I’ll be driving in for an ultrasound (to check if there are any ovarian tumors) and then go down the hall for a pre-op visit with my surgical breast oncologist. From there, we’ll set a date, have a meeting with the plastic surgeon, do another breast MRI (blah!!), and then go from there. Deep breath.
By now, you probably have read about my ups-and-downs with religion, faith and prayer. I went through a very “angry with God” phase when Joli was diagnosed. I’ve always been a faithful person, but I haven’t always been a prayerful person.
While this is all happening, I’ve noticed something very interesting about myself these days. I’m praying more. To be totally honest, I just noticed it about 5 minutes ago. It’s partially fueled by Joli’s return from Camp Hope (a week long faith based camp that she went with her grandparents and church youth) – she now wants to pray every night. Joli has been praying for kindness, for a good school year, to make friends at her new school, and for her family. It’s also influenced by my awesome new assistant director, Jacqueline, who just exudes a love of God and love of humanity. She is always that silver lining, an incredibly positive woman, and one of the most genuinely thoughtful people I have ever met!
Whether by prayer, fate, luck, destiny, or just karma, I’ve been gifted the opportunity to reconnect with people I haven’t seen in a very long time. With lots of anxiety, I went into Joli’s new school nervous about sending her to a large public school where she wouldn’t know anyone. Given Joli’s prosthetic eye, I was also worried about how she would handle getting teased. While on the tour of her school, I realized there were a number of fantastic people who I had known in high school who work at her school! It’s been such a nice surprise to see so many people again!
Today, after a very emotional morning of finding out Joli has, in fact, been teased at school for her prosthetic eye, I ran into an old childhood friend who I had not seen in well over a decade. About 10 years ago, as a newlywed and a brand new parent, this childhood friend had tragically lost her husband in an accident; years later, she found love again with a man who was also widowed. Together, they have joined their families, and just found out they are expecting a child together. It gives me goosebumps to think of all they have gone through in their young lives and how they have both found – and remembered – love.
After my quick ice cream store reunion, I came home to find a package at my door. Inside was an amazing painting from my friend Jennifer. Jennifer’s crafts are one of a kind – made from upcycled, recycled and eco friendly materials. It brought me to tears. It was perfect. Jennifer didn’t have to do this; she wasn’t asked to do this; yet, she felt something inside of her that called her to do this. It’s incredible what we can do in this world if we just listen to the voice of love in our hearts.
I was also asked by a former student, Maya, to be featured on her very well respected website. She writes at Loving With a Chronic Illness, and was diagnosed with a very, very painful genetic illness. In all this, she is still pursuing her masters degree, writing and changing lives, and loving happily. I went over to her blog and read some of the other spotlights she has done. Honestly, my story is nothing compared to the bravery, endurance, courage, and passion that the people she has featured have. I’m both humbled and in awe of the company I have been asked to join.
This past week, we also said goodbye to Jorge’s grandfather, Great Pops. Too detailed to go into here, I didn’t grow up with a grandfather. Though I met Great Pops when I was 21 years old, I’ve always looked to him as the most perfect grandfather. We saw him so infrequently, half the time he don’t think he knew who I was, but I thought the world of him. Every time I saw him — every single time — I told him that I loved him. Both in English and in Spanish. While we did not have many conversations together, I know the man he was because I know the man my father-in-law is; and the man my husband is. They are who they are because of Great Pops. Jorge used to talk about going to Great Pop’s apartment after school, about the time Great Pops took Jorge and Andy to Florida, about people who would wait to listen to Great Pops preach on Sundays, and about watching boxing and eating shelled peanuts. When Joli was just born, we had visited Great Pops in Brooklyn, and I just remember him looking at her lovingly. I knew he loved her; he had it written all over his face.
These past few weeks, it feels like life has moved just way to fast. While I’m sort of glad I was too distracted to realize my doctor’s appointment was coming up, I also wish I could have processed it a bit more. I realize, now, that God had set up all of these little events in my life the past few weeks — meeting new friends, connecting with old ones, receiving gifts of praise and gifts of paint, watching my daughter blossom into the strong girl we have been hoping she’d become, and seeing how lives have been changed because of kindness and courage.
Jennifer wrote in her painting: “Honor the FEAR, then continue with COURAGE.”
So, taking from Jennifer …
Peace, love, and courage,