Wednesday, April 13th
Figures. It’s Spring Break, all three kids are out of school, the car has a busted tire, and the service place can’t guarantee fixing it or replacing it today. The kids and I are down at Harper Motors waiting to be picked up by the rental car place. I’m the only one who thinks this sucks. Tomas is happily engaged in a PlayStation baseball game, Tristan is playing on a big Duplo Lego table, and Phoebe is shoving fistfuls of popcorn into her mouth. Based on my kids’ happy, contented looks, Harper Motors has done a splendid job outfitting its “children’s nook”. So I’ve decided to type.
That was Monday. I didn’t get very far on this note. By the time we had transferred the car seats to the car rental transport, been driven to town, waited ages for the rental car to be vacuumed halfheartedly by the overworked carwasher, and transferred the car seats again to the rental car, the kids were less enamored with the whole experience. But they were troopers, and it wasn’t horrendous.
Blown tire aside, the last few weeks have truly been amazing. What a change, to suddenly be living at home again and not always preparing for the next trip to the city! And what a change, to be allowed to take Tristan out in public, to places where there are other kids, even indoors!
We’ve wholeheartedly thrown ourselves into this new phase, with Tristan frequently saying, “We can do this because I’m IN MAINTENANCE now!!” He’s been to playgrounds and to baseball games and to the Discovery Museum and to restaurants. Best of all, he and Phoebe are now taking karate classes. Phoebe says “HA!”so superbly when she kicks the big foam pad held by an instructor, her pony tails flying as her foot lands, and Tristan listens so carefully, with such focus, to the huge shaven-headed black-belted man who tells him how to do an upward block or a side kick. The littlest one on the mats, he has an intense look of joy on his face running in circles with the other kids to warm up. The master tells the other kids to watch out for the little one between shouting instructions to them to leap up or hit the ground between sprints. Tristan is fully, with all his soul, loving being allowed to do these new things and feeling good enough to want to. And I sit, all the while, watching him with a dumb grin on my face. What a relief to be here and now, and thank goodness the last seven months are behind us.
Tomas has resisted offers to join Phoebe and Tristan in karate, but his Little League season is off to a blazing start, with Tomas pitching or playing shortstop and occasionally whacking a giant hit. It’s so much fun to watch him, quiet and low-key on the field while his eight, nine, and ten year-old teammates twitch and jostle and roughhouse in the dugout. What a great kid. I guess I’m not supposed to be so openly proud of him, but I can’t help it. He has joined me for some runs, including a Color Run a couple of weeks ago. This bizarre event involved wearing a white t-shirt and being painted in bright colors from head to toe by standers by during the course of the run. The kids had a blast, and Tomas and his best friend Leah came in well ahead of me on the ~3 mile run.
I’ve been running a lot, sometimes with Kneeland friends, sometimes with the stroller, sometimes alone or with Otis the dog. It’s only two weeks until the half marathon at the Avenue of the Giants. Team Kneeland is only just short of meeting its fundraising target for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (see http://pages.teamintraining.org/gba/yourway16/agorog), and I’m just short of the 13.1 mile race distance — on Saturday Otis and I ran 13 miles, up over Kneeland and a few miles down the other side of the mountain. Gary heroically watched the kids while I ran, and it’s debatable who was more tired afterward. I’m not saying I wasn’t tired. I was wrecked afterward. But there’s something about kids on Spring Break. They’re a triple handful.
This coming Monday the 18th Tristan and I will head down to San Francisco for his second appointment of Maintenance. He’ll have chemo on Tuesday. I’m finding myself sort of…resentful, I guess, about having to go back again. I don’t want to go anymore. I keep having flashes of memories from those seven months, July to March, and feeling real horror. Shuddering. Trying to shut out flashes of really awful moments. The thought of going again…it’ll make it all fresh again. I know, I know, this is SO not over yet, and how could I let myself start feeling that?! Easy. The big target was getting to Maintenance. We did that, and now I guess I’m in the process of making the emotional adjustment to the new target, which is 2.5 years down the line. And then, I’ll go through this again, and the next target will be five years down the line from the previous one. Five years is the magic number. If these leukemia kids don’t relapse within five years of finishing treatment, they are declared free and clear. Not sure exactly what that means. A lower level of anxiety, I guess. So, now, Maintenance. Less scary, less intense, but not over yet. I’ll figure it out and settle into a new groove, I’m sure.