Two Thousand Sixty-Seven

On Tuesday, last week, I took Ezra for a check-up at a new pediatrician. "Okay, family history," the doctor said cheerfully, turning to her computer. "Heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, cancer? Are all the grandparents still living?" "My dad," I said. "Is not. He died yesterday." "I'm so sorry," she said. "It's okay," I said. *** On Wednesday, last week, I took a train back up to Pennsylvania. As I rose to get off, my bag knocked over my seatmate's coffee cup. "Oh!" she gasped. "Oh shit!" I muttered. "I'm so sorry." "It's okay," she said. *** A very nice man... Read more →


The How

When we got there on Friday, it was March 25th, and he was reading the Kindle I’d gotten him for Christmas. He was in a hospital bed in the living room and looked thin and pale and waxy, but he was reading his Kindle. He told me I looked good, referring to my super-pronounced-looking pregnant belly, and I think I said something dumb, like "you too!" that I immediately regretted. But honestly, compared to how he'd look in just a matter of hours, it was true. Noah walked in and surveyed the room. “PopPop, you sure are sick, aren’t you,”... Read more →


Selective Hearing

This is the last post in the More Birthdays campaign, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. I imagine it's pretty obvious by now that I didn't really have a plan or theme for this "series," but just sat down each time and started typing and hoped that I'd stumble upon a point or insight somewhere along the way. Honestly, most of the time I just crossed my fingers that I wouldn't get an ominous phone call in between the draft stage and the publish button. I guess, as usual, the best place to start is with the dry, basic facts:... Read more →


Just In Case There Was Any Doubt

Ezra's middle name is Harrington. It was his now-late great-grandmother's last name, and we chose it in her honor. Noah's middle name comes from my side of the family -- Corbin, the Latin version of Corbett. Though we found out this weekend at the memorial service that the actual last name Corbin appears a few branches up on the Harrington family tree as well. Huh. We also discovered that while Ezra got the name, Noah got the genes. (Professional photos [I am sure you can tell which ones those are] by Kaileen Galhouse, Galhouse Photography) Read more →


Mommy, Read Me A Story About Death & Destruction

We're headed back to Pennsylvania AGAIN this weekend, travel exhaustion and desperate homebody desires to sit on the couch be damned. Grandma's memorial service in on Sunday. We're taking the boys, since it's really not a "funeral" -- no viewing or casket or urn, just a family-and-friends gathering at her nursing home. My mother-in-law thinks their presence will be a welcome distraction for everybody, especially Grandma's remaining friends, who do always adore visiting grandchildren, no matter who they "belong" to. (Of course, my mother-in-law also thought it was totally appropriate to take the boys to visit Grandma last week, when... Read more →


Both Sides of It

Jason's grandma died yesterday. It was...not unexpected. It was also peaceful, and one of those instances where crappy platitudes about it "being her time" and "for the best, really" are actually, entirely true. She was very old and very sick -- dementia had long since robbed her of most of the memories of her life and the chance to forge a relationship with Noah and Ezra, her great-grandchildren, whom she was simply unable to recognize in any meaningful, connected way. But. Still. I met her over 14 years ago. At that point, the dementia was simply the occasional moment of... Read more →


We Called Them Rinse & Spit Cups, Even Though We Never Did Either Of Those Things

This photo is for my sister, who is currently pacing a hospital waiting room while her daughter, my niece, undergoes emergency gallbladder surgery. You know, for kicks. Yeah. It's kind of an inside joke. Which would ideally involve each and every one of those cups filled with shots of contraband Pinot Grigio. On Christmas morning. While huddled in the guest room under the guise of last-minute present wrapping. Which may or may not have actually happened. Anyway. Between that and another week full of chemo treatments and bargain-basement platelet counts, I'm in a giddy sort of limbo where I don't... Read more →


Alive & Slobber-Coated

Isn't it crazy annoying when bloggers start a post with an apology for not posting? Like they automatically assume you EVEN NOTICED in the first place, and CARED in the second place, because they are self-absorbed egomaniacs who imagine that dozens of people are sitting at their computers terribly worried because they couldn't be bothered to sit down and grace the world with a few sparsely punctuated sentences? I know, right? Anyway! I am very sorry for not posting there, for a few days. I went back up to Pennsylvania again, for about the millionth time, for a good old-fashioned... Read more →


Time Enough

So. My dad has decided to go ahead with chemotherapy after all. I don't agree with this. Nobody does, actually, except for one doctor who seems to put chemo on par with prescription-strength Tylenol. Take one! You'll feel better in no time! Giddy up, let's get this systemic invasion started! My mom called me yesterday from a pharmacy parking lot just so she could finally scream and cry out loud about it. Best case is maybe a year or two of remission before the cancer comes back. Because this kind of cancer always comes back. The more likely case is... Read more →


Three to Six to Who the Hell Knows

We left later on Friday than we'd planned, as always, heading up to Pennsylvania in the thick of DC rush hour, hitting additional rush hours in Baltimore and Delaware and Philly all the way up, to a degree where the math of "rush HOUR" starts bending the space-time continuum and we basically sat in traffic for five solid hours, until 11 o'clock at night. We arrived at Jason's parents far too late to get over to visit mine, and I admit I was grateful for one last chance to steel my nerves before having to walk in and see my... Read more →