Here’s another lesson I’m learning while careening on my husband’s current health crisis merry-go-round.
Diminished expectations and detours don’t have to mean just disappointment and sorrow.
Sure, there’s that, but I’m trying to focus on my attitude, and realize that it all comes down to the old glass half-full/empty debate.
Do I keep lamenting the losses (vacations? certainty? quality and quantity of time spent together?) or do I focus on that which remains (a family I’m crazy for, family and friends galore plus the world’s snuggliest dog)?
Once I fully stepped into my big girl’s pants and learned that this is our life right now, and so little is beyond my control, I started honing in on that which I could.
It may not be the life I’d like for us now, but there is so much to be grateful for –even amidst the chaos–and I’m learning to stop waiting for the big moments to bring me joy.
Life is right here and right now, and heaven knows it can — and will— get darker in time, so let’s get real.
For all we know, this could be as good as it gets for the four of us — at least for a while– so we might as well as recognize and celebrate the small victories and joys right in front of us.
Last week David finished the last of his chemo and radiation, and we used it as an opportunity to one last time rock the Chemo Center with our LOVE box.
I made three dozen Ginger Chews,
wrapped them up, and doled those out alongside other offerings — including gift cards that a friend of a friend gave me to share.
Random acts of kindness are my jam.
There were so many handouts (perhaps to nearly 50 people): candy and cookies and those gift cards and homemade soup.
I loved letting strangers also pick out cards from that Portland artist I told you about last time and it was so much fun hearing their stories as to what they’d do with the cards they’d picked out.
There were notes going to husbands
and friends far away — all thanks to the generosity of a stranger.
I’m not going to miss going to these appointments but I will miss all these kind faces and I’ve loved flipping the script on these dreadful double radiation/chemo days.
I will remember the gratitude as I passed out oversized candy bars
to the nurses and doctors, many of which spent hours with David over the course of the last month, never hurrying him along or making him feel less than a star patient.
David’s now in that place where he has to try to mend himself from the onslaught of treatments. Next up are tests at the end of the month to see if he’s a candidate for surgery.
So now there’s just lots of waiting, and I’m trying to fill this anxious time with as much joy as I can.
And we’re embracing those small moments and mini-occasions.
This past week was Porter’s first anniversary with us (which we also celebrated as his birthday).
My friend Kate from S.F. recently sent us these beautiful little surprise gift bundles
so we had those at each place setting (David’s vintage card alongside seemed particularly appropriate).
We put on our paper crowns
and toasted each other and a wonderful year of memories with our beloved P. Chop
How has it been a year already?
These days we now stop and eat treats whenever they’re brought to us, like this week’s surprise delivery of Pip’s Donuts.
And we’ve enjoyed digging into all the edible delights my friend Monika dropped off.
Monika owns a string of cooking schools
and she’s a phenomenally creative and accomplished cook. (Obviously.)
There was shrimp escabeche in a darling little jar.
A luscious vanilla cake with a strawberry and cream filling.
and perhaps my favorite, a chocolate dipped Alfajore cookie.
I’m so spoiled.
Also this week a friend of my sister’s sent me this
and I really took the time out to appreciate each component of this handsome picnic basket offering.
Just look at the teabag carrier, people.
Some days it feels like my front porch is akin to Grand Central with all activity of friends dropping off treats and plants and flowers, and I’m deriving so much pleasure from these tiny examples of growth and bounty.
Filling my world with beautiful scents and wee treasures nourishes me.
And now that the weather is cooperating, I’m loving taking our meals outside whenever possible.
Now that David is getting so much nutrition from the feeding tube, he can just sit with us and a milkshake or cocktail (instead of painfully, unsuccessfully getting food down), and in a way that is freeing for us all.
I’m grateful that family suppers are back on the table for now; Oliver is so close to going off to college that I don’t take any meals for granted anymore.
And if we can also sneak in food carts together, why not?
This week there was Matta (which calls its offerings Vietnamese Soul Food) and we had sirloin marinated in lime and fish sauce, grilled, and then served atop French fries and rice
and we also enjoyed a killer chicken sandwich from Gumba next door.
Speaking of meals outside, my Mother’s Day great.
Mine was spent Goodwill Bin-ing (more on that later), watching the Trail Blazers win a thrilling, Game 7 contest, sitting in the sun reading one of my Mother’s Day gifts,
picking herbs from my beloved corner of the garden
and playing games together at our big outdoor table.
Afterwards, we luxuriated in a fab alfresco meal: Tuscan-inspired grilled pork chops
an arugula and Manchego salad
and a giant platter of fries and our first-of-the-season grilled corn.
Another gift, this time from my pal Gillian,
inspired our Mother’s Day dessert.
Look at the richness of that dough.
Happily for us all, David was able to join us in this chocolate chip reverie.
… I’m happiest of all.
A belated Mother’s Day to all you lovelies —
here in Portland we send all our love (and our crazy mad gratitude for the continuing barrage of gifts, support and well wishes).