Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Unpacking

yes, that is Moon Dough on the floor. Hard to vacuum between suitcases
I am terrible at unpacking. Most of the time, I cannot even bring myself to get the bags out of the car and I imagine, if we had a garage, I'd just get dressed and lotion my legs in the garage.

My closet is a wasteland of partially filled handbags--I have taken to just grabbing what I need and switching to a new bag. Whenever I grab our suitcases from the basement, you never know what you will find--a bathing suit from Puerto Rico in October? Some tea bags from England in '08? Maybe that other flip flop from Nags Head in '05? A bottle of Salt Lick BBQ sauce from Texas in '10? You never, ever know.

It is much like my head--a storage unit filled with forgotten items from bygone days. Despite my tendency to talk too much, text too much and write too much: I am terrible at unpacking my thoughts. I leave the important ones behind and let the unimportant ones filter forward. The unimportant thoughts weigh less, they float to the surface like that expensive olive oil I found in my duffle bag from San Antonio '07.

Today, after a whirlwind trip through DC, Myrtle Beach and Raleigh, I came home with all my luggage (which my husband so nicely unloaded) and here it sits, in my den, anxiously awaiting unpacking.  I will say that I am unpacking, but really, I am just waiting it out, hoping that miraculously it just all goes away somewhere.

I also came home to the looming MRI--a scan that will mark five years since Lily completed treatment for an ependymoma brain tumor.

And despite my best efforts to toss those memories in the basement or tuck them into the dark corners of my closet, I cannot. Those memories are neither heavy nor light; they seem to possess a super human ability to float to the top while simultaneously dragging me to the bottom. The memories of diagnosis and treatment: CHOP May-June '07, MD Anderson July-August '07, suspected shunt malfunction of July '07,  vomiting of '08,  radio-active dye malfunction of '11 and each and every MRI (Lily has had nearly 20 in her 6 years. I've never had one in 35 years). All these memories still fill me with sheer terror: cold sweats, racing heart, wild eyes and panic.

So, I unpack the bits I need: her treatment history for the anesthesiologist; dates of past scans and upcoming appointments; reminders that she needs the IV team and a dose of giggle juice; enough darkness to be grateful for the light.

The rest of it: that I will toss in the basement, next to the box from my computer, right behind the Easter decorations and to the left of old lamps.

Unpacking can wait.

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