Tuesday, June 29, 2010

...and FIVE and SIX!

I remember celebrating my son's fifth birthday, just three months after being diagnosed with cancer, and being grateful for the opportunity to be there. My daughter had not yet celebrated her first birthday, and so any ideas about celebrating her fifth birthday seemed like the stuff of wishful dreams.

More than four years --and many miracles-- later, I found myself celebrating Emma's big five this month. We had a "Princess and the Frog" themed party, and I made my first attempt at a doll cake:

(Now try and tell me this wouldn't obviate the next neuro test!)

Meanwhile, I was also celebrating #6. That's my son's baseball jersey number this year. I watched him earn a second game ball as their team came back from their losing streak to handily win the next several games. During the playoffs I had another chance to sing the national anthem. His team ended up finishing the season in fourth place -- which was good, considering that they were in ninth place (out of nine teams) during the first half of the season. He learned to lose with grace and to win with humility...and to enjoy the chance to play, no matter what the outcome.

This evening we celebrated the end of the season with a team party. We went to a park and played a hilarious scrimmage game of team players vs. moms and younger siblings. They used wiffle balls and bats, making it brain-friendly. I managed to hit the ball each time at bat -- which should also obviate the next neuro test. After the game, we went crazy with cupcakes and water balloons. It was one of those "had-to-be-there-to-appreciate" moments, and became yet another treasured memory to save in (what's left of) my mind.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Living didn't count

The title punctuates the need for punctuation! What I meant to say was:

Living. Didn't count.

Actually, what I meant to say was that I was so caught up in living this great day that I nearly forgot that it was the 12th! It took a while today before I realized that --wow-- I can count four and a half years (54 months!) of cancer survival behind me.

We started our day at a very special ballpark that gave my son's team a little taste of "big guy baseball." Each team in the league gets to play one game on this field, complete with announcers and a large lighted scoreboard and great seating for the fans. Technical difficulties prevented the playing of a recorded version of the national anthem, so I asked if they wanted a live version. They handed me a microphone, and now I can say that I sang the national anthem at a baseball game.

My son's team was missing several players and they faced a formidable team -- and they got slaughtered (11 to 1). But they played with all their hearts and managed to pull off some great plays and enjoy the experience despite the disappointing outcome. (It was a good life lesson for all of us.) Jacob had grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins to cheer him on, and after the game was over we all saw his coach award him the game ball.

After a celebration pizza lunch we went across town to watch my niece play the violin at a Music Fest recital. When we got home we were reminded that we had ordered some fajitas for a fundraising activity, and they were being delivered just in time for us to feed the new missionaries in our area. We had a great visit with them, and later reconvened as a family to celebrate my sister-in-law's birthday. While together we also phoned my youngest brother, who is celebrating his birthday today far away.

It was a busy day, but one filled with family and friends and new good memories. The best stuff of life!