Thursday, September 1, 2011

Optimism (Babble)

First of all, thanks to everyone for their kind thoughts about my father.  His condition was described as being in a grey zone for a while, which was scary.  My brother, Barrett, has been at the hospital every day since dad was admitted, providing the rest of the family with updates.  I hate being so far away, but it makes more sense to stagger our visits if dad is getting better instead of worse, and luckily he does seem to be improving.

My dad is out of the ICU.  He will need rehab to gain strength before heading home.  The consensus is that he had a severe reaction to the last round of chemotherapy and the resulting dehydration caused a myriad of problems.  Now when specialists look at my dad and give him about two years it’s still frightening, but it seems like a gift compared to where we were just days ago.

Here in Milwaukee it was the first day of school for my girls.  They were so happy and excited!
Aden was up at five in the morning to get her backpack out of the washing machine and to make herself some alphabet soup.  (She has a new little lunch container especially for soup that comes with a tiny spoon, and she was determined to bring it on her first day back in the lunchroom.)  Mona saved a special sparkly shirt just for today.  Ian made everyone French toast.  I put Aden’s hair in a braid last night so we could sidestep the usual unpleasantness about detangling her before we leave the house.  The only thing that slowed us down was shoes.  Aden hunted high and low before realizing her shoes were in the car, and Mona simply came outside in her socks, then ran back inside when she realized she’d need shoes too.  (When Ian was deployed I had a rule for a while about no one getting to eat breakfast unless they were already wearing shoes.  Shoes are the Waterloo of our morning routine.)

The lovely thing about watching both of my girls at the start of school is their confidence.  Aden is so poised.  She always has been.  And lately she just seems so grown up, and tall, and ready to face the world in a way that’s new and independent.  I walked her up to her new classroom so I could introduce myself to the teacher and get a peek at her new space.  She has friends in her new room already.  She’s hoping they still do show and tell in fourth grade.

Mona’s new teacher seemed very sweet.  I liked that he greeted each child in the doorway while crouched down at their eye level.  He interviewed the kids one at a time, asking for a name and checking his list, and finding out if they take the bus or get picked up at the end of the day.  Mona has a large messenger-style bag instead of a backpack this year because she wanted lots of room for her paper creations.  She has a jaunty kind of look about her when she wears it.  When it was her turn at the front of the line she announced her name with pride.  She loves school and she was glad to be back.  There was no hesitation in Mona this morning.

I’m sure I was never even half as cool as either of my girls.  I was always nervous and worried.  I’m still nervous and worried but I hide it better.  I love how bold both Aden and Mona are in their own ways, marching into a new situation and believing it will be great.  Because they are optimists.  They have experienced good things and imagine more good things ahead.

And in a hospital bed the next state over, my dad is fighting to go home.  Because he knows a bit about good things, too, and believes there is more like it ahead as well.  I want him to be right.  Nervous and worried has limited utility.  I think I’m better off throwing in my lot with the optimists.

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