I posted this on Tuesday, but it somehow got eaten by the internet/wordpress. My sweet friend Krisha follows via email, and she forwarded my lost words to me, so hooray. (and thank you!) It really is inexcusable for a person who traffics partially in words for her job to not have multiple copies of anything, so lesson learned. And, reposting:
Spring break when you are a professor with kid(s) in school that has a different spring break is … not exciting. I know that I have no business complaining, particularly when I have a partner who has no paid sick leave, much less vacation, but still. It’s cold. I’m writing a paper (or 2) and grading. I do get to go to the gym at a later hour than 5:00 in the morning so … wahoo!
So, while I’m not off in a warm local (Arden suggested that we just go to Hawaii. A good idea, but it’s just shy of being in our budget for March.), I am glad to be off.
Anyway, I’m in a funk. J’s funeral was yesterday, and I can’t shake my sadness. Sadness for the unfairness of her cancer. Sadness for her 9 month old little girl and 3 year old little boy. Sadness for her husband. For her friends. Sadness for her community. I’d never been to a Catholic funeral before, or one where the casket was in the room, and the finality of it all was just there, contrasting itself with the full of life photos on the program, with her smiles and laughs and silliness radiating off the page.
I was thinking about that sweet 9 month old. When Trudy was 9 months old, I was still physically recovering from chemo, having finished it when she was a 7 month old. I was trying to get back to a “normal” life. I was playing with her, I was able to be active with her. To watch her grow and experience her amazing development. I know that I felt awe that I was able to do this, and I know that I cherished it. And, my pain, my exhaustion, my weakness during chemo were real and they interrupted my parenting in ways, but I was not in and out of surgery. I did not have a tumor still growing inside me, sucking my nutrients and and life forces. When Arden was 9 months old I had just defended my dissertation, having written it during the 2 months before he was born, and working on it late into the night and early in the mornings between September (when he was 1 month) and March when I turned it in. I got to be with him during the days, going for long long walks to break the monotony of life with a baby who doesn’t yet crawl and a mama who has no car available, and lives within walking distance of nothing. I know that J would have given anything to have uninterrupted days with her little girl, and to have the luxury of figuring out how to pass the time, and the energy to walk and laugh and snuggle with her. I mean, I thought I was tired. Nursing a baby, writing a dissertation, teaching one class, co-parenting with a working partner, no childcare (what non-profit worker and doc student can afford it?) are, truly, exhausting. But, they are easy, I imagine, compared to trying to parent a newborn while in pain because you have stage 4 cancer and are receiving chemo. I feel both guilty for having had that time with Arden, and incredibly incredibly lucky. How did I get so lucky? And, I just keep thinking about J’s sweet babies. One who will never know her mama, and the other who must be so confused and so so sad. It breaks my heart.
So, I’m spending some of my work time this break staring off into space. Wishing I knew what to do or how to help or that I didn’t know this thing I know about the world–that it takes and takes and takes. I also know that it gives and gives and gives. I suppose I struggle with who gets what and why. I feel like my 8 year old–it just isn’t fair. It isn’t.