we didn’t get enough of them

This fall has been a series of difficult milestones. As a parent, you become so used to anticipating and celebrating all the firsts that children do, first steps, a first lost tooth, the first day of kindergarten. All those pictures and notes in baby books and calls to grandparents – so many ways to document those milestones.

After losing a child, those firsts continue, but they are harder to commemorate. They mark absences, first birthdays without her, first days of school without her, holidays and recitals and vacations, without her. In between those milestones there are other reminders of lasts, her last day of school, the last time you spoke, the last hug you gave her. For me, I feel it in the insignificant as much as the significant. The color of the changing leaves, the sound of post season baseball in the background, the Halloween decorations, the color of the balloons at the store. The milestones in this first year are too many to name, too many to number.

During her treatment, her mother would text updates to family every Friday. Friday’s were generally treatment days, and the messages would include numbers – blood counts, hours waiting, next steps. It’s been a year, but I still remember those messages. I still sit at my desk and work and check my phone for updates. My phone is too still, still.

We gather together now, at these milestones, as a family and broader community, to remember her. We walk in walks, we run in races, we release balloons, we remember her collectively. These are good things, and important things to do.

There are so many sayings in the cancer community that relate to big moves, big milestones. We walk for more birthdays, we walk for a cure. I want all those big things, I want them so much that it hurts. I want more Easters and more New Year’s Eves and more vacations with family where everyone is there. I want another chance to see her, I want to hear her voice, I want to rewrite all of last fall again, and be with her more, and damn it, I want to walk with her and not for her, for a change.

I walk for a cure, of course. But more than that, I walk for better treatments for this horrible disease. I walk for treatments that are more individualized, more effective, more humane. I walk for treatments that don’t push you as close to the edge of death as possible and hope that you bounce back on the other end of the seesaw. Cancer forces you into this new world of hard to pronounce and harder to stomach milestones. I’m so sad, and so tired of milestones.

I walk for ordinary, run of the mill Fridays, and we didn’t get enough of them.


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We’re walking this Saturday, for Erin. Please join us in spirit if you will.

the work

Well, I only scored a 60% on last week’s goal of posting once a day for five days straight. I got through three before I surrendered myself to full on studying. Luckily my test passing rate is much higher, and hopefully will remain at 100% after this last test. I always walk out of the testing center doubting myself, but so far, so good.

I wrote down this precept on Sunday night, before Monday’s test #6. I still had a stack of materials to get through, and I was just really, really tired of reading, retaining and regurgitating information.

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And while it was so, so nice to have the sixth test down, I still had to come home Monday evening and clear off the dining room table yet again, and spread out the next set of materials. You’d think I’d understand this by now, but it always sneaks up on me – the day after a test I’m 100% shot. Not good for anything. I go through the motions, but I don’t accomplish much of substance.  So I wrote an amendment to my precept Tuesday afternoon.

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It’s fall, and it’s cooling down. It’s wet and it’s gray, but not gloomy. Just sleepy and still, the way fall should feel. There are so many thoughts and emotions swirling around in my head these days, but I have to briefly push them aside, pull up an extra blanket, and dive back in.

Twelve more days. I can do this.

around town: home wine kitchen

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Last year our anniversary fell on a Monday night. For two people who work a traditional Monday-Friday desk job, Monday night doesn’t usually scream party night. Plus, most of the nice restaurants around town are closed on Monday nights (likely for that same reason). Then I read an article about Home Wine Kitchen’s No Menu Monday, and that seemed like a perfect anniversary spot. Unfortunately, their Monday reservations were full for the next three months. So I pushed it to the back burner and sort of forgot about it.

Lucky for us, I remembered it this year.

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This year our anniversary fell on a Tuesday night (another party night!), but I thought I’d give the restaurant another try for the Monday before. Lucky for us they had one last eight o’clock reservation, and we booked it. (You have to put a non-refundable deposit down because of the unique nature of the event.)

No Menu Monday is exactly what it sounds like. There is no menu to select from, just a series of questions that you have to answer about some of your general likes or dislikes. It’s really more of a conversation about food before someone crafts it for you. You can choose to do three courses or five – we initially thought three, but then threw all Monday night caution to the wind and went for five.

Home Wine Kitchenimages via Home Wine Kitchen

I can’t overstress how relaxed and enjoyable the whole experience is. Because you start talking about food at the beginning, the conversation seems to carry on throughout the meal. Everyone on staff is involved in your meal, and because of the size of the space and probably curiosity as well, it’s really fun to watch the food coming to the tables. No one is eating the same thing.

This was really a perfect spot to celebrate – even on a Monday night. M and I have very different ideas of a great meal in a restaurant. We’re on the same page at home, but when I eat out I like to eat things that I never prepare at home – meat and seafood and as many tree nuts as you can throw at me! M still eats vegetarian, but he really enjoys it when the menu and flavors are unique, and it’s not just the lonely meatless option with little thought put into it.

All ten (!) dishes put on our table were fantastic and well worth the one-year wait for a spot at the table, and the slow rise the following Tuesday morning.