Well, good bad news at the vet yesterday. Good: my kind vet reassured me that I could not have done much more, even if I had been the most proactive owner in the world. Bad: Annie's lesions are indicating an inflammatory breast cancer (which I knew), which gives a more poor prognosis. Good: it is still not time to say goodbye...she's still doing fairly well, for the situation. Bad: it won't be long now. Good: My darling vet gave me a tube of glucosamine/chondroitin goo for Nanners (for free, even), and it seemed to ease some of her arthritis/pain. Good: she purred a lot yesterday. Good: she purred as she ate tuna.
Super Bad: cancer is spreading in other family members.
Sometimes I wonder what I did to enter cancer world so decisively, as I have...but then I think of all of the blessings in my life, as well. If a girl has to face cancer world, it is really, really nice to have a dead mother. She is the perfect person to talk to...she sends the best presents and reminders that God is good and Life is good...she gives me hope that there is a wonderful place to ascend to after this life.
Super Good: special "miracles" from my Mom.
And now, since I don't care what any of you think of me...if you think I am crazy or wrong or not (but I love all of my friends and don't mean to insult you by saying this...I just am past the point of caring about things like what people think of me today. Super Bad news does that to a person.), I will share my special "miracles" with you. I don't think I have done this before.
Prepare for a long post, drop off here if you like!
Miracle #1: 17 year old Pam lost her car keys at Metro Beach.
Imagine the scenario: hard working young Pam drives herself to Metro Beach to do a run on her cross country team's home course. Said course is 1.5 miles long, not marked one bit, entirely on grass. Hardworking Pam does the course twice, and then has to return home to prepare for her job at Tubby's (sub shop) on Garfield.
Well, as Pam finishes the course, she realizes she has LOST her car key. It was tucked in the pocket of her running shorts (the one that is little, a pouch, at the top of the elastic, inside the liner of running shorts). She feels her shorts ENTIRELY (full liner feel - including private spots) to make sure the key hasn't slipped down somewhere...but of course a person would know if that had happened. Not there.
Pam starts quietly freaking out (emotional girl), and praying that she will find her key. She has no other real way to get home - her father works in downtown Detroit and will FREAK OUT about her losing her key. Her sisters are younger and can't drive. Almost none of her friends are driving their own cars yet, and even if they were, they couldn't get to Metro Beach and get her home in time for her to get to work. Plus, she has no money for a pay phone (life before cell phones - so inconvenient.) Pam starts retracing her steps, looking for her giant Mazda key in the grass. (It's only the one key - because nothing bigger would have fit in that tiny pocket in her shorts).
.5 miles pass, lots of prayers, and no key. Pam is begging the powers that be now. Maybe another 1/4 passes, and she feels it.
THE KEY IS IN HER SHORTS. In the liner of the shorts, to be exact, tucked down in a private area where YOU WOULD HAVE FELT such a thing for every step of 3/4 of a mile.
And that my friends, is Miracle #1. Thank you Mom, for taking care of your daughter. It helps to have someone on the other side.
Miracle #2: Lonely College Freshman Pam, Bursley Bathroom Incident.
So Pam is now a college freshman, leading her boring college freshman life. Pam was never a partying sort, or even really much of a friend-making sort...I wouldn't say she's a total loner girl, but she has certainly never been the most confident, or most interesting girl in the room. Her freshman year was OK...made a little easier with the help of rowing, and flew by due to the mononucleosis which made the last half of the first semester a bit of a blur. But there were some lonely moments.
On this night, some fairly nice girls were in a joking mood...and I can't remember at all what they said, but there was something that they said that made Freshman Pam feel very alone, and very sad. As she left the room, she was nearly in tears (though they didn't know, they were nice enough girls who probably would not have meant to hurt feelings. Pam never rolled with the punches that well, though.)
So, Pam went to her room (empty, her roommate had a serious boyfriend and was never around). She gathered up her bathroom bag from one spot, her towel from another spot, her keys (on a lanyard) from another.
Down to the bathroom, upset young Pam throws her bathroom bag in the sink, her towel in another, and whips her keys on top of the ledge under the mirror. (Hear the huge clang of the keys on the metal ledge, because she is upset, and wants the keys to feel it.) She goes into the stall to use the facilities, where she remembers she has forgotten to pick up her contact case from the heater (remember those)...it was on another side of the room. She is unhappy with herself, unhappy that she feels like she has made no friends, and this sets her over the edge. Failing to pick up the contact case feels like just another example of how stupid she really is.
She flushes the toilet. She opens the door. She walks to get her keys (will have to go back to the room to get her contact case), and there, perched very precariously on her keys is HER CONTACT CASE! They are practically tipping off the keys which had been flung on the ledge with such fervor. They are perched so carefully - impossibly carefully.
And then she feels it...peace, love, contentment...the kind of stuff you only feel when you are cozy and enveloped in your mother's love. It was amazing, how fast all of my sadness and loneliness went away.
Miracle #3: Pam is getting married!
It was no secret to my soon-to-be-husband that I was not looking forward to a wedding. I could not imagine life without him. He had been my family for 7 years already - my support and the person I could turn to in any situation - but a wedding was more than I could handle. There was something about the whole Mother/Daughter thing about a wedding that made me totally avoid a wedding. I had no idea how I would accomplish such a girly thing on my own...and being a motherless daughter, I was not great at doing things NOT on my own.
Luckily, Emma came along...or Emma embryo came along. Immediately, we would have the wedding, and I would have to get over my worries about how to accomplish a wedding - and fast. Still not being girly, I was very hands-off with wedding planning. I bought a dress off the rack at Nordstrom (bought two sizes, in case my pregnant belly needed more room). We found a priest who would marry a pregnant couple (thanks to Bill's dad, who had been a priest). We had a fancy reception site, so that I wouldn't have to figure out how to decorate the room too. The only thing left was the flowers.
Well, I waited a bit too long for the flowers...plus we were planning a wedding that was less than 3 months out. My darling sister went to the one florist in Ann Arbor that I knew, and asked if they would do some flowers.
"Fourth of July weekend? We are much too busy. We already have __ weddings that weekend. I'm sorry."
Julie said thanks, and then walked out, and down Main Street towards our small house.
And then she turns around, to the sound of someone running after her and calling for her.
"How many arrangements did you say you needed? I think we can handle it."
And that is how I think my mother helped me plan my wedding, after all.
So those are my biggest miracles...but I have had some smaller ones as well. Strange things where Emma STARTED falling down the stairs, only to stop right in the middle of the stairs and be fine. I don't think my children have avoided stitches thus far in our lives together because of my careful parenting...I think it is more due to some careful grandmotherly hands fixing some situations before they got bad. And then there was...
Small Miracle #1: Emma's first miracle (two weeks ago)
Emma does not like to lose earrings. In fact, just the thought of losing earrings has made her so fearful and panicky that she kept her first studs in her ears for about 1.5 years of her life (they are so tightly fitting).
Well, recently she has branched out and wears a few other special pairs...but the thought of losing them still makes her crazy.
So imagine her concern when she was wearing a different pair of earrings, for some special occasion, and she felt one of them fall out of her hair, in the shower, having been pulled out as she washed her hair. She caught the front of the earring, but the backing was gone. She immediately turned around and started looking everywhere, in the shower, water rushing down all over her.
Only to find the earring backing perched on the tip of her thumb.
Small Miracle #2: A Mother still needs her Mother (2 weeks ago)
Nathan has potty trained himself (because I am a failure at potty training), so a whole new world of swimming has come to the Lucken family. This world involves lots of swimming by both kids and Mom, in the big pool.
Sometimes Nathan and Mom decide quite last-minute that they will go in the pool, involving a quick change. That is what happened on the day I lost my beloved 3-day necklace. It has charms for both 3-days I walked, a ribbon, and a charm with the names of my 3 children on it. I remember taking it off, and I remember leaving it on the ground. I don't remember why I thought that was a good idea.
And then we swam, and then we left the pool, and I never picked up my necklace. I returned that evening for a swim meet, asked many people about my necklace (as I remembered having left it earlier that day), to no avail. I followed up the next day as well. No necklace.
Swim meet days are busy days - this year, we're at the pool (some faction of us) from 8:45-11:30am, only to return around 4:00pm (having spent the time between driving home, eating lunch, putting together the swim stuff, and packing up our picnic dinner). We are usually there until 9:30pm. This doesn't leave a lot of time for laundry, or other chores, aside from random kitchen things and maybe some shopping for food for our picnic dinner.
Well, I was sad about the necklace...maybe not bereft, because life with Bill has been so good and I don't worry about losing things as much as I used to. He is not the sort to freak out, or to call me irresponsible...he always is willing to replace lost items. But still, this necklace was special to me, and I hate losing things anyway. A few busy days pass (we had the swim meet, and then I embarked upon my crazy deck project)...I haven't done any laundry other than a load of whites.
Thursday morning comes (necklace losing happened on a Monday), and I am emptying the laundry to put in the swimsuits for the next meet (that day). I move the whites along, and check to make sure no socks have been lost in the door's seal. No socks there...but what is there? My gleaming, perfectly cleaned 3-day necklace!
I only have one answer for it's appearance in a washer full of whites (no shorts, no swim towels, no swim suits - places it could have hidden to get home with us, and I had not washed even one other load since Monday) - a Mother is still looking out for her daughter.
I hope any readers out there are looking for little love notes from their departed loved ones...I know it's not only me receiving them!