Thursday, February 1, 2018

NY trip, birthday celebrations, & random tears

If you took one of the nines away from the balloons at my Aunt Marge's 99th birthday party Saturday, you would obviously get one nine, which is the number of years that as of Monday had passed since my fourth bone marrow transplant.

It was preceded by a fabulous weekend in New York, complete with seeing cousins and a new baby at my aunt's party; seeing Waitress for the fourth time (because my California cousins were coming to see their friends Sara Bareilles and Jason Mraz on stage); getting to go to the show with them and wth my daughter-in-law, Meghan, and seeing it through a new set of eyes; dinner at a nice Italian restaurant; two trips to Junior's for cheesecake; two free parking places; getting a last-minute ticket to see John Lithgow; hanging out with Bruce and Jeanne; running 4.8 miles from their apartment to the reservoir and around and then walking another mile looking for the right croissant...and then of course driving home, a logical followup to driving into the city, though not as much of a good idea as I had thought it was before I got a reminder that driving in New York is not the most relaxing thing ever.

Family birthday brunch crowd
If reading this long sentence causes you to run out of breath, it was pretty tiring to do those things. All the activity caught up with me, and the drive back in traffic put a stressful end note onto the trip. Stopping in Fairfield to play briefly with Nell put a smile on my face, but still, I had car-itis by the time I pulled into South Hadley around 7:30 p.m.

Between Monday and Tuesday, I cried three times.

Tuesday was my re-birthday, and I was crying! The thought of this made me cry more. Of course I am grateful to be alive and grateful to Denise, my donor, for making it possible, but everyone with a cancer anniversary (cancerversary) knows that it can bring it all back, the good and the bad. Some personal anxieties were an added ingredient to the watery mix.

Central Park reservoir track
I exacerbated it by driving my new car at night to meet Joe for re-birthday dinner in Wallingford, Conn., about half way between us. I rolled down the windows and turned on the radio. Then I realized I couldn't figure out how to get the windows back up or turn the radio off. The mature response kicked in: I cried.

I pulled off and called Joe, saying I never should have driven the car in the dark. Once under a light, I saw how to get the windows back up but had no luck with turning off or changing the  radio station. (Which unfortunately was on a station broadcasting the State of the Union address.) Still, I got back on the road.

By accident, instead of getting on 91 South, I got on 291. My directions kept saying to proceed. I might eventually have gotten me back on track, but it felt wrong. So I pulled over again, this time in Ludlow, and called Joe again. Crying. Poor Joe. He said he had left early and suggested we meet in Enfield, much closer to where I was.

Arriving safely, I was relieved to see him coming towards me in the parking lot of the Yarde Tavern. The choice of 50 beers on tap and some 20 in bottles was a distraction from my (First World Problem) woes. I had a good bacon cheeseburger, a flight of IPAs (have already forgotten my favorite), and a great time talking to my middle child. He wished me happy birthday and said he was glad I was here. I thanked him for picking me up, literally and figuratively. I said I was honestly going to cancel our gathering. He said he knew, but he wouldn't have missed it.

He went out with me and showed me how to turn the radio off.  (A small switch that I couldn't see.) Everything was in a different place; if you've ever gotten into a rental, you probably know the feeling. He had to leave early in the morning for the Super Bowl, where he'll be working, but he said, "Call me if you get scared."

Joe to the rescue, again.

Did I say I'm grateful to watch my wonderful kids grow up?

Did I say that I'm grateful for New York trips and Broadway shows and jogging at the reservoir, and for parking places and places to stay and for family and friends and the whole crew that got me here?

Did I say I'm grateful for tennis, which today lifted me out of whatever funk I had fallen into?

I'm sure I said all that and of course that I was grateful for the grandchildren I didn't expect to see, but it can't hurt to say these things all over again.

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