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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New Friends

Whew! It has been kind of a whirlwind around here. Erin and the kids left, but my Mom stayed until yesterday. The boys were so sad to see her go. Fortunately we'll see her again in about 4 weeks. Just enough time for her to recover. And stock up on french toaster sticks.

Anyway, last Friday we had the privelege of meeting a CaringBridge family! In all these years, we've only met one other CaringBridge family--Kristie and her crew. I know many of you visit Kristie's page regularly (and probably like her better, admit it. That's OK, I feel the same way.). When I met Kristie, I felt like she was a kindred spirit. I mean, I pretty much suspected we'd hit it off. Which we did. But there's always that little nervous feeling beforehand--will she like me? Will she think I'm a crazy, neurotic weirdo (Not far from the truth, actually, but will she be put OFF by it? That's the real test!). In the end, it has all been good and I love Kristie to bits--we want you to come visit, Kristie! We do have a Sonic--35 miles away though.

Anyway, a few months ago I learned of yet another family battling pediatric cancer. Kami has just over a year left of treatment for ALL, which is the same kind of leukemia Finn had (so nice to say HAD). Kami's Aunt Lisa lives a mere mile from our house. The weird thing was right around the time I learned about Kami, two other acquaintances here in Eagle had young relatives diagnosed with cancer. Sigh. It never ends.

So I still follow a lot of CaringBridge pages, and while it's always fun to think about, I never really have on my radar that we might get to meet a family. Meeting Kristie and her family was a lucky break. We met them when we were driving home from Florida in '06. But when I read on Kami's page that they were coming to our area to celebrate her grandparents' golden wedding anniversay, I could hardly believe it. I put a post in Kami's guestbook that said something like, "Oh, I wish we could meet you while you're here. . ." Like I was some sort of lunatic or something. I mean, isn't this what crazy people do and then get trapped by Dateline: To Catch a Predator? I was trying to lure this poor family into meeting me from the Internet. And to make matters even weirder, I was offering them NEEDLES online because Kami was having bloodwork done. A stranger. Offering you needles. In your daughter's CaringBridge guestbook. Would YOU want to meet me?

Well, Kami's mom, Jill, was very brave and invited everyone who had been following Kami's story to come to and meet them.

Finn adored Kami who immediately sat down and started coloring with him and was so sweet to him for as long as we were there. Her poor brother fled back to the hotel room--possibly, as I found out later, because Finn kneed him in the crotch to try and wake him up. Alex, I am so, so sorry. I'm totally mortified. I don't blame you for trying to escape!

I was mortified further when I discovered that Finn had been sitting next to a very lovely leather chair. . .and scratching it with his fingernails because he realized he could make marks on it. We won't be going back to that hotel anytime soon.


Finn and Kami. Kami was so good about wearing her mask because of low counts. Good news--her ANC is back up over 1,000.

Now Kami, Jill and the family are all safely back home, but it was so much fun to meet them. When your kids have cancer, you automatically have a bond, but then to get talking and swap stories and tears and that shared sense of "I know what it's like" and really be able to mean it, well that's something else altogether. Thanks, Jill!

Another milestone for The Mighty Finn last week--his last day with his preschool teacher, Mrs. S. Of course, school had ended in early June, but his teacher had offered several weeks of summer programs and Finn was able to go for three of the sessions. When school ended, I didn't feel too sad because I knew we had the summer with Mrs. S. But when the last week rolled around, I found myself feeling a little melancholy. My boys are both now elementary schoolers. Preschool is over. This past year was pretty much the ideal situation. I still liked having one of them home with me a few days a week. And although I have to admit I'm looking forward to having big spans of time to get my work finished during the day (as opposed to staying up late at night), tackling some big household projects, volunteering at the school on a regular basis, and skiing whenever I can, this is the start of a whole new era. School--all day, every day. It feels weird. Sometimes I have this crazy thought that I'll keep the boys home and homeschool like Erin does with great success.

Then I put down my crack pipe and remind myself that I am in no way cut out to homeschool. No way, no how. And I recall the time my friend Karen and I taught Sunday School together when we were in college. (Karen can confirm this story for you because she was there) I think about the class of unruly third graders we taught and how William Wolfe became so out of control that I grabbed him and wrestled him to the ground because he wouldn't pay attention to whatever Bible story we happened to be reading that day. Yes, I really wrestled William Wolfe to the ground. In my defense, he was a total handful, but in this day and age I'd probably be branded a child abuser and hauled off to jail for that.

So basically what I'm saying here is that it's unlikely anyone in this house would survive a homeschooling experience. And besides, I still count on my fingers so I don't know how I'd cope with teaching math.


Here she is! Mrs. S poses with Finn on his last day of summer camp. I love this woman. She is an angel is preschool teacher's clothing and I'm going to miss her terribly.

6 comments:

Jill Chauncy said...

Natalie,

I am so in love with you and your family that I can't stand it!

I love your humor (I didn't know Alex as kneed in the crotch, and never in a million years would he have ever even admitted to it!--which adds to the humor!

Y'all may be done with treatments, but don't doubt that we hold you near and dear in our hearts and prayers!

Much love and hugs and prayers! ...xoxoxooxoxo...Jill and Kami www.caringbridge.org/visit/kamisroadhome

Leeann said...

Girlfriend,

I was in your shoes just one short year ago, when Trey headed off to kindergarten at the BIG SCHOOL! What is totally amazing is how, after a few weeks of aimlessness and occasional sobs, you will find yourself TOTALLY BUSY and wondering where the hell time went! lol I promise this is true!! I had all these lofty ideas of organizing and accomplishing goals..lol!

I'm jealous you got to meet the Escoes. I want to meet you all AND the Escoes too! Maybe we will all have to convene at Blogher sometime.

Oh, and FYI, I made a blogroll last night and you are on it, baby! Check it out!

Leeann
niccofive.blogspot.com

Mom on the Run said...

You know I think there are unruly, out of control kids who probably should be wrestled to the ground for acting out! Hats off to you for teaching Sunday school. I did volunteer duty in the nursery at my church and quit after a child vomited on me twice!

utahsweeney said...

Yeah, the crack pipe is smokin' HOT over here and often!!!

Confession, Erin is a much better teacher, more patient and all around a better person than I am, that's why I joined a Virtual Public School where a real teacher tells me what I have to teach my kids...

Hilarious post. And Kristie is funny, but there'd be an empty place in my bloggy life without your "Uncontrollable Hair"!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness I hadn't thought about teaching Sunday School with you for so long. That was a hoot. In your defense that kid was a BRAT. I remember you kept asking me "How do you stay calm? Don't they get to you?" I was studying and am now a teacher in public school but would still find it hard to teach my own.

I am thrilled to see how happy/healthy Finn looks and that you got to meet new caringbridge friends. Kami looks like a sweetheart.

Miss You!
Karen

1dreamr said...

Arghh, don't you hate when you write a comment and it doesn't post!??!!!!

I'm too lazy to re-write it, too, darnit, but looks like you guys had a great visit with Kami's family!