Actually, it's been twenty-two months and two days since my skull was cracked open and I heard that awful word: malignant. Twenty-two months filled with scary stuff here and there, but saturated with miracles and wonders and lots of love.
The number 22 reminds me of when we started getting into our thirties, and I used to joke with my husband about my age, playfully insisting that I was only twenty-two. Well, using Lance Armstrong's viewpoint that his cancer diagnosis date was the day he "started living", I really am twenty-two again (at least in months).
We didn't make a big hoopla over that, because were having too much fun celebrating my husband's birthday this past week. He is not twenty-two. He is forty-one--an age I hope to see myself next year. Our other joke together relates to the nine-month difference between our ages. He maintains that we are virtually the same age, whereas I like to tease him about being much older.
Last year I bought him a 1967 Ford Mustang for his 40th birthday (and also because I could finally drive again, so we had a need for two cars again). We call it "Mustang Krista" because the car and I are both 1967 models. I wanted him to know that even though he was a 1966 model, it was close enough to show him that things his age were still cool and sexy.
That was the closest I ever came to conceding that we were the "same age". But I was quick to amend and explain that while he and the car might be the same age, the car was built earlier in the year than I was, so I still assert myself as being substantially younger. In fact, this year I teased my husband by drawing a timeline with two major periods: "B.C." = Before the Car was built (infinite period preceding and including Spring 1967); and "A.D." = After car was Done being built (Summer 1967 and infinite period thereafter). I pointed out that he was born in the B.C. era, which also included things like "history", "dinosaurs", "ice age", "the Creation", "Old Testament", and "women not voting". By stark contrast, I was born in the A.D. era, which included "space shuttle", "Sesame Street", "the future", "Internet", "science", and "satellite television". We were born in two completely different universes of time!
We had a good laugh, and then I hit him with a zinger: he must obviously be substantially older than I am, because women are often attracted to older men, and he was the ONLY man who attracts my attention and affection. (He had no good comeback for that one, so even with half my brain tied behind my back for twenty-two months I won that round!)
Whether only slightly so or significantly so, I'm still a little jealous of anyone who is older than I am. Clicking up another year on the odometer of life is something I hope to do myself again...and again...and hopefully many times again.
I should also mention that the State of Texas threw a fine celebration for us. (It was actually the State Fair, but we went to it on Saturday and pretended it was a birthday celebration for a 41-year-old cool and sexy guy, and his substantially younger wife who was born 40 years ago but started living 22 months ago). We even rode the 212-foot tall Texas Star (the tallest Ferris wheel in North America), and despite my prior crippling fear of heights, it was actually a fun ride. We piled into the same gondola together with our two kids, and while my husband kept his death grip on our daughter to keep her from bouncing around and falling out, my son held my hand "so I wouldn't get scared."
I wasn't scared. After all, I've faced scarier things in the past 22 months, and once again I had my family (loved ones much older and much younger) riding it out with me.