Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Look for the Signs (Day 69)

You know how there is that Mr. Rogers quote about looking for the helpers? Well, I am not a mega Mr. Rogers fan by any stretch of the imagination,* but I do like this notion of looking for the good--whether it is the literal advice to look helpers in a bad situation or simply the thought that sometimes when things seem bad, you have to look for the good. 

With this Spring teaser weather** and longer days, it feels quite possible that maybe there are some signs of hope for normalcy in the days to come. Apparently 1 in 10 Americans are vaccinated.  The adults in my household are all half-vaxxed. The CDC says the full vaxxed people can hang out with the unvaxxed and the vaxxed. These are glimmers that show that we are, maybe, emerging.

And in my own world, my 14 year old daughter's scan results came in today: Lily remains cancer-free and free of any late-treatment changes in her brain. 

In May, it will be 14 years since she was diagnosed. She'll be 15 years old in couple days. 

If this scan isn't a sign or a reminder that even through darkness, light breaks through, I don't know what is. 

In the early days of the pandemic, Mike and I often talked about how it felt like suddenly the whole world was experiencing what we did, at least in small measure, in May 2007. When Lily was diagnosed, our regular lives were both stopped and still moving all at once. We were thrust into a world where we still had our careers and our house and our daughter, but we also had neurosurgery and shunts and pathology and proton radiation. We spent a month at CHOP, mostly in the PICU. Our days were spent talking to doctors and supporting little Lily through physical therapy; but at the same time occasionally taking a work call and also, once, going out to lunch date while Mike's mom hung out with Lily. 

After the hospital, we were still so isolated from the world--I wasn't going to take Lily on a playdate when the sutures from her 4th brain surgery had not yet dissolved--but we still had to be in it--making travel arrangements and figuring out work. The pandemic was like that for all of us--trapped and locked down, while still working and educating our children. We had to do the normal things in juxtaposition with the abnormal. 

It is a very strange way to live. But, as the signs truly point to a new world with some normalcy, I know from our experience in childhood cancer, that we can trust those signs. We will somehow go back to what it was before and at the same time be changed entirely. Our kids will go back to school; but maybe they will always be masked or maybe we will always fill out a health screening survey. Travel will become normal again; but maybe we are flying less and driving more. We will forever miss those lost to the virus, but somehow we will go on living. My church will open someday; but maybe we won't ever again physically pass the peace with handshakes. 

And you know, even with the differences, everything is going to be okay, even if it feels like it will never be okay. Okay is relative. Sometimes okay is thriving and sometimes okay is simply getting through to the next day. It has been okay for our family. Through premature births and devastating diagnoses and the death of my father and brother, in the end, it's been forever changed, but it has been okay. 

So today, as I ride the corona-coaster full speed into hope, I was able to see some signs like: my winter planting of Brussels sprouts and leeks and garlic growing, the crocuses in the lawn and garden sprouting, the promise of the boathouse opening for Lily on her birthday, the beautiful noises from the children playing in our yard and at the playground across the street, laughing with my husband about everything under the sun, being choir mom and hearing my son sing, and the joy pulsating through my car, as I had my windows down, blasting "Smells Like Teen Spirit," while my children belted out "Hello, hello, hello. . ."

In these crazy times, it is abundantly easy to see the signs of darkness; but the real abundance is in the signs of the light ahead. 


*Only because his jacket to cardigan changing at the start of every show was maddeningly slow and inefficient. It drove me insane. I am getting angry as I write this. 

**which does annoy me a little bit because now I am over thinking my wardrobe. I think I have a lot of clothing related issues. 

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