Two years. Not really much when you think of it in the span of a lifetime, yet oh so much when you’re told you have months to live.
Two wonderful, difficult, happy, tear filled years.
When I was pregnant with Olivia I would pray everyday that my husband would live long enough to meet his child. After being told that not one, but THREE new tumors had formed, I pretty much surmised I would be raising our baby alone. I began to write down the things he told me, so I could I help my soon to be born baby “know” who their dad was. (We didn’t know she was a girl yet.)
I was listening to a pod cast the other day, and the person being interviewed said “There are blessings in our curses.”
What a wonderful way of putting it. Recognizing the fact that even though something is downright a curse, sometimes blessings can arise from within those curses. Olivia is one of our blessings. Had we continued on our pre-tumor life path we probably wouldn’t have decided to have a baby, we probably would’ve remained very career focused and continued to spend our spare time at bars.
I have to remind myself of that from time to time. When I find myself comparing where our lives have ended up, and where they could have been if we weren’t so cruelly disrupted by this disease. Maybe, and here’s a weird wild thought, our lives are better because of this.
We love each other more profoundly than we did before.
We relish simple pleasures like gazing at the stars, going on a Sunday drive or having breakfast in a cafe in a town not our own.
We do things for the sake of experience instead of acquiring possessions.
And most importantly, we pour our love and experience into this little girl we brought into the world and it gives us a purpose greater than ourselves. We try to do the same for Celeste, but she’s in her preteen years, so our profound experience with her consists mostly of yelling, stomping and door slamming.
Raging hormones aside, this past year has been a fairly quiet one. And that’s perfectly fine by me.
There have been lots of doctors appointments. Lots of missed work and sympathetic bosses. Lots of dirty baby sink baths. Lots of focusing on family and not too much else.
Chris traded in his sports car for a 4 door sedan. We took Olivia to Lake Tahoe for the first time. We spent a weekend at our brother and sister in law’s cabin. We saw Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at Lake Tahoe in the summer. I chopped 18 inches off my hair and Chris is working on growing his back out. Someone told him he looked homeless the other day.
We threw an epic 80’s birthday for Celeste. Olivia went on her first roadtrip to Seattle, Vancouver and Portland. That’s right, Olivia Drue, international traveller. We made our annual trip to the balloon races, and Chris saw Dawn Patrol for the first time. I honestly never thought I’d see the day. This man rarely get’s out of bed before 9am!
Our refrigerator broke and we lived out of coolers in the kitchen for two weeks while we waited for the new one to come in. We live in a 1960’s ranch style house, the kitchen is original, gingerbread valance and all. So now we have a really cool retro styled fridge that fits, so I guess in house camping was worth it.
I took the girls to see a Back to the Future art show, featuring a sweet Delorean completely reworked to be the time machine. The girls had no idea what was going on. We saw an outdoor showing of Nosferatu in the park, complete with a live orchestra. Chris lovingly sat through a Hozier concert with me. He’s such a good husband.
We celebrated our second anniversary, cotton. I gave him a pillow that read “You belong among the wild flowers.” Lyrics from a Tom Petty song he listened to a lot these past two years. I would turn my back to him and silently cry when he played it. To me, it represented the brief existence we have here, and how important it is to live your life wild and free and exactly the way you want it to be.
He gave me a beautiful leather bound sketchbook with paper made of cotton fibers. I haven’t written or drawn in it. I feel the need to make it’s entries epic and memorable and am thus paralyzed by the need to be in this perfect place to create this perfect book so I don’t tarnish this beautiful gift in any way. Sometimes I just need to get over myself.
We chopped down our third Christmas Tree together. It was cold and snowing and we bundled up and drank hot cocoa and roasted sausages over the fire. Our jackets were steaming and we couldn’t feel our fingers or our noses. The kids took turns sledding down the embankment while moms screamed about watching out for trees.
We went to a great big Thanksgiving full of good food and fabulous people that we love surrounding ourselves with. Olivia’s cousins outgrew their mini furniture and passed down a baby arm chair, it is her favorite thing ever.
We went to the Wedge Ceramics Studio Chili Feed Fundraiser and painted Christmas ornaments. We started a project where we’re turning a hall closet into a shower for the Master powder room, so we’ll have another full bath, as well as something better suited to Chris’ needs. Chris’ brother’s and their wives have sacrificed many a weekend to put it together and it’s nearly complete!
I embarked on a couple of month’s worth of daily projects, only to discover I have no time for such things with a baby. I had my first show featuring my film photography. Nothing sold, but one was stolen. I have another show featuring watercolor paintings this July.
We had professional family portraits taken and they are amazing. Everyone should do it, it is the best investment in your family memories ever! We took Olivia and Celeste on a day of exploration at the Discovery Museum. And this past weekend was miss Olive’s first time camping!
All in all we’ve stayed busy with relatively mundane things, but we love it just the same. I find myself sad and disappointed at times that we don’t live in a better neighborhood, or can’t afford to go on really cool vacations or fix things about our house. Or even just have time to cook a decent meal everyday. I just have to remind myself to embrace the simpler things in life, and know that where we are right now is where we need to be. And it’s ok to to buy a pizza for dinner. Even if it’s not an organic, gmo free one dammit.
Sometimes I just need to remind myself to be grateful for the blessings and not focus on the curses.
P.S. As a designer I am super embarrassed at the state of this blog. I want to say I started it something like over seven years ago and have never done an update, so, yeah. There are dead links everywhere, but hey, I’m a working mom and wife and just can’t find the time to get to it just yet. And does it really matter since I can only seem to lay down my written word on an annual basis? Probably not. Just know, it’s on my to do list. I Swear.