Friday, June 27, 2008

Hope

I haven't written about my friend Emilie yet. She's the reason I started this blog; I didn't know anything about the blogging world until I started reading her blog. Emilie has been on my mind a lot lately as she is sick. She was first diagnosed with cancer last August, at which time she underwent a lengthy surgery to remove a large tumor from her abdomen. She was pregnant at the time, so nothing further was done. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy in March, and then she had a CT scan in April to find out if she still had cancer. She found out that she does, in fact, have cancer, and her prognosis is not good. That's what the doctors say, anyway. We have only known each other for a little more than a year, but the news is heartbreaking and difficult to accept, nonetheless. Emilie is someone I admire and like very much, and I feel I know her quite well, in part because of her blog and the fact that she is a wonderful writer. If you aren't familiar with her blog, or her battle against a rare cancer, please visit her at lemmondrops.

It's an unbelievably difficult and sad situation for Emilie and her family, but they are dealing with it heroically. I feel like I would fall apart if I were in her shoes. I know you can't ever know for sure how you would deal with something like that until you're in the situation yourself, but still, I can't imagine handling it as well as Emilie seems to be. I know that it's not easy for her, and that she has weak moments sometimes, but you should see her. She's an amazing woman. I can't do her justice with my words, so I'm not going to try.

I don't often meet women with whom I feel a connection, and whom I want to make an effort to get to know. I don't make friends easily as it's difficult for me to let my guard down and trust people. Emilie is one of the first women I've met in a long time for whom I wanted to put myself out there. I feel like knowing her is making me a better person, and I felt that way before she was diagnosed with cancer.

I am going to remain hopeful that we'll have the opportunity to get to know each other better over many years. More important, I'm going to remain hopeful that she'll be able to see her two young boys grow up, and spend many more years with her much-loved husband. I have hope.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Jack Johnson

Sean and I took Kate to her first-ever concert yesterday. We drove to Riversedge park near Somerset, Wisconsin to see Jack Johnson, who is one of our favourite musicians. Kate likes him, too, as he did the soundtrack for the Curious George movie. The concert was to start at 6:30 p.m. with Mason Jennings as the opening act, so we figured it was early enough for a two-year-old to attend. Part of what encouraged us to go ahead and buy the tickets was the fact that it was free for children under 5, which told us that this particular concert and venue were child-friendly. So, the three of us embarked on our little musical adventure, with Sean and I only mildly concerned that we might be asking for trouble.

We knew there would be people around us who would be smoking (both legal and illegal stuff), drinking, swearing, and behaving in a generally debaucherous manner, but we figured that the overall vibe, if you will, would be calm and peaceful considering who the main attraction was. I didn't love the fact that Kate would be breathing in some second-hand smoke, but I told myself that at least we would be outside and it is a very rare occasion that she is around it, so the benefits of listening to and watching live music outweighed the risks.

We were pretty much right on all of our assumptions, and Kate really seemed to enjoy herself. She started dancing (in her funky, Elaine Benes style of dance) as soon as the first band began playing! I wish I were so free. Kate had her arms up and was dancing with abandon, which is something that I've always wished I could do, but it's a rare moment when I bring myself to do it (publicly, that is). It's wonderful for me to see how free, joyful and unselfconscious Kate is; I hope she holds onto those things for a long time.

It turned out there were two opening acts and Jack Johnson didn't come to the stage until Kate's bedtime (around 8:30 p.m.), but we knew it would be a later than usual night for her, so we stayed to hear some of his music. Kate enjoyed sitting on her daddy's shoulders for a while, being held by me and swaying to the music together, and even doing a little more dancing on her own, but after four or five songs she started to get tired. I asked her if she wanted to lie down on the blanket we had spread out over the ground, and she said yes. So I made a little pillow out of her sweater and she lay down. I snuggled up beside her and we talked for a couple of minutes, nose-to-nose, until Jack started playing a song from the Curious George soundtrack, at which point Kate sat up and looked around at all of the adults around her who were singing and clapping and dancing to the music. She was too tired to get up, but it seemed like she was enjoying it.

Sean and I decided to pack up and leave before the concert was over, as times have changed and we had to get our little one home to bed. We also wanted to beat what was sure to be some seriously heavy traffic if we waited until the last song was over. So, off we went. We changed Kate into her pajamas when we got to our car (we actually had the forethought to bring Kate's p.j.'s with us), fighting off mosquitoes the whole time, and then we were on our way, feeling good about our experience. Our little love's first concert, and our first concert with her. I'm glad that it was Jack.