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Category: Family Life

Knowing the Way

A few weeks ago I dreamt my mom and I were sitting down to dinner in a lovely, cavernous restaurant. Our table was a two-top beside a far wall. The room was decorated in a mustard-beige hue, and there seemed to be an auditorium stage on the opposite side from us. The wall I faced, across the expanse of the restaurant, was not a wall at all, but made up of huge, large-paned glass windows that gave us a view of the dark world outside. I can’t tell you what was behind me, the space that my mom faced: in my memory, it was just gray, blank–a vacuum. I do remember rising from my seat to wave at a family I knew from school as they entered the room and sat down. They didn’t see me, though. The diners, including my mom and me, were very quiet, subdued. We were in a room full of people but it felt like we were wearing noise-cancelling headphones. Mom that night looked like the Suzie most of you know: blonde bob, bright blue eyes, wearing blue jeans with blue shoes and a top bursting…

Maybe He’ll Help Me Figure Out the Answer to Some of Them

Cian has a bit of a speech impediment–if you’ve just met him, you might have some trouble understanding his “th” sounds, say–but that doesn’t stop the child from talking, usually constantly, usually about thirty different topics in the span of as many seconds. Last Saturday, I drove him and his sister Saoirse to a gym about an hour away from our house for her basketball game. The boy talked the entire time. I say this without exaggeration. Cian spoke, without stopping, the entire 54 minutes it took us to get from our house to the gym. He talked as he got out of the car and took my hand, and he kept talking as he followed us into the building. It had gotten to the point where I just turned the radio up and muttered, “Uh-huh. Uh-huh” at regular intervals on the drive because I’m pretty sure he didn’t really need me to listen in the first place. Saoirse said, “Mom. You’re not even listening to him,” and when I made eye contact with her in the rear…

Time to Put the Stopwatch Away

So much has happened since last fall — I have started to write what feels like dozens of posts just to have the circumstances change before I could complete the first paragraph of any of them. I wrote, what I wrote wasn’t the case anymore, et al. It makes me nervous to write this one now. Life as we know it, as you know, got ripped out from under us last September. Since then my mom has had the laser ablation surgery of her lesion and completed her six-week course of daily chemo and weekdaily (that’s not a word) radiation. It was tough on her. In the beginning of treatment, she’d drive over to my house, we’d go to the hospital, we’d have lunch. By the end, my aunt was staying with her many nights a week, and she ended up hospitalized twice–once via ambulance–in the last week of her course. She lost most of her hair and too much weight. She is wobbly and weak and chugs Gatorade and salt tablets because her sodium levels do not want to stay at healthy levels. She…