Monday, August 24, 2015

Reflections on a birthday and a baby visit

A funny thing happened to me yesterday when I went for the day-before-my-birthday lunch with Ben, Meghan and Nell in Fairfield: In this age of Facebook where I am as guilty as the next person of sometimes oversharing photos, I didn't take any at all.

I was actually in the moment. How crazy is that? Although it's good to have everything so easily documented on our iPhones and tablets, "the old days," when you had to actually reach for a real camera, had advantages.

I took the accompanying photo off Facebook, just so you can see. Next time I will have someone take a photo or two or three of me with her, just so everyone knows I was there.

But yesterday, I looked at Ben walking around with Nell so peacefully cradled in his arms and thought for a second, oh that would make a nice picture, but I didn't reach for my phone. I sat on the couch next to Meghan while Nell was on Meghan's lap and held out my pointer finger and my granddaughter wrapped her tiny fingers around it. I touched her perfect, soft skin, and watched Meghan do a funny thing – she heard that if you stick your tongue out the baby will do the same thing  – and it happened! Of course she also showed she has a good set of lungs by scrunching up her little face and screaming and bicycling her legs.

She has sweet bow-shaped lips and also, something interesting, a tiny chip on the top side of her ear just the same as Ben's. Meghan said she's going to look like Ben; she hopes Nell will have more hair, and I said don't worry because if she looks like Ben she will look like Katie (because Katie and Ben look alike) and she'll have beautiful, lush hair.

Ben, Meghan and Nell gave me a pretty black tennis skirt and two cans of balls. Joe stopped by to say hello and to give me an I.O.U. for a gift from the U.S. Open.

So, it's my birthday. Ben wrote on my card, happy sweet 61. It is sweet in so many ways. And also, time to think of how many birthdays I have had. Those 61 plus the others with the clock resetting with my four transplants. Let's just count the good one, Jan. 31, 2009, so either I am six years and eight months (yes, I still count them), or, as I said in a stage whisper if you can do that when typing, 61.

At 48 when all of this started, the future did not look so bright. And as I wrote after Nell's birth, I said many times, "I'm never going to see my grandchildren," especially on that dark night in December 2008 when I had relapsed again and thought I was at the end of the road.

What a long strange trip it's been. (Thank you Grateful Dead.)

Thank you Denise, Dana-Farber and everyone else.

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