Right now

May 6, 2008

In the last two days alone, I’ve caught myself thinking at various moments, “This has got to be the hardest time of my life,” and “Wow, life is in such a sweet spot right now.” And I’m coming to realize that both statements can be true simultaneously.

I know that I sometimes (endlessly it seems) chronicle the tough parts here. My mom’s cancer has long since ceased being a sprint for me, and has become a marathon of emotional endurance. She has ups and unfortunately of late, more downs, but the whole situation requires a lot of fortitude for me (and for her, obviously). It’s not the physical help I’m happy to provide her — in fact, I’m so blessed to be here, in town, where I can help her prepare a meal or fold her laundry. That stuff is simple. But the love, the bittersweet love — wow, that’s hard to process a lot of the time. Today she told me that if the current medication makes her feel as badly during this next round (she’s finishing a week off after a grueling three weeks on — though the doctor has lowered the dosage and the number of days for the next round) that she’s pretty certain she won’t continue taking it. And I totally support that. Totally. We talked about my dad, her concern for him, and I tried to assure her that though I’ve screwed up plenty of things in my life (and God knows as my mother, she knows that!), that I won’t screw up taking care of my dad. That I will do and do as well as humanly possible. But being with her, laughing with her, sharing Max and Erma’s take-out with her — it’s like swimming in the most refreshing pool, while seeing that the sky is darkening as it gets toward evening. It’s feeling my body warm in the water and feeling a touch of chill in the air as I know I’ll have to get out soon.

And then there’s my kids. Truly, days pass where I feel like a play-dough guy, as someone pulls each limb in a separate direction. But at the same exact moment, my kids are completely awesome right now. They’re riding their bikes, sometimes around the block and out of my line of vision for a bit (so long as they’re together). They’re funny, so damn funny so much of the time. And it’s not the laughing at the cute antics of little children, it’s the laughing with each of them about the vagaries of life. They each have a particular, and as they are my kids, a peculiar sense of humor. Rob mimics my head in hands gesture when one of his siblings throws a silly tantrum and then he looks up at me and grins. Dan talks and talks and talks about sports and tells me that he’s considering Pittsburgh or Cal for college (I’m not sure why). But he’s completely fascinated in my opinions, and he paces in circles when we have our discussions because he can never sit or stand still for long. Abby and I have been having deep discussions about God’s leading in her life, and she actually pursues reading her Bible with me before she goes to bed. She remembers when I don’t.

My kids are getting old enough to be independent, but not so old that they don’t still like me. And I love it.

It all feels so overwhelmingly brimming right now. And it’s a a richly steeped brew — full of sweetness and sadness, anguish and joy. And fleeting, so very very fleeting.


5 Responses to “Right now”

  1. Bittersweet. Miss you.

  2. Beth said

    Thanks. Miss you too — you and the rest of your lovely family. I’m sorry I haven’t e-mailed — I will soon!

  3. Liz Riggs said

    Life can be so sweet at times and so hard at times..I have been thinking about you and your family wondering how you were and also because a deer friend of my family is most likely in his last days and his cancer is spreading. Enought about that just wanted to say if you need or want to emotionally vomit to someone who knows you but is not right in the circle of family or close friends please feel free to write to me i am a good listener and am good at keeping things to myself when they need to be……..please take really good care of yourself during these times.

  4. Beth said

    Thanks Liz. I may just take you up on that!

  5. Kristen said

    Been thinking of you Beth (and still waiting for that peanutty noodly recipe from the Eclectic Christmas Party many a moon ago). Call or e-mail any time, I’m a pretty good listener.

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