Happy birthday! I hope that you had a wonderful time at your birthday party last weekend! It was so much fun to see you toddling all over the place and babbling about everything. You, as always, were the life of the party, but not in the usual way that that expression is meant. You were the life of the party with your chill demeanor and delightful personality. You had smiles for everyone. You do not yet know the meaning of "stranger danger".
Your mom made you your own cake with gobs of blue frosting. She took off your handsome birthday shirt and put you in the high chair, left to explore the sweet wonder of having an entire cake all to yourself on your first birthday. You were tentative at first, not knowing what to do with either the cake or with the 30 pairs of eyes smiling at you expectantly. But once that first tiny finger planted a dab of blue frosting on your tongue, you dug in with both hands. You made a complete mess of the cake and of yourself. Who's idea was the blue frosting, anyway? A generous glob of it remained in your left nostril an hour after you'd been cleaned up. So precious.
Your birthday reminded me that it has been a year since I started this round of cancer treatment, which will now carry on indefinitely. How naive I was to think that my cancer book was concluded! How surprised I was to begin a new cancer chapter! How secure I had been in my cancer-free existence!
In some ways it is surprising to me that it has been a year, but in other ways it is not. It seems like a lifetime ago that I had a breast, hair in a ponytail, and the "this is how it works when you used to have cancer" attitude. Conversely, it seems like only yesterday I was nauseous, yesterday Aunt Jacque cleaned my room, yesterday I had a PICC line, yesterday Lori rubbed my feet, yesterday I couldn't wait to get out of the hospital, yesterday I was using your stroller as a walker to support my walk around the block. Cancer treatment seems like a parallel life that I recently, somewhat briefly, lived and survived. Scarcely related to the life that I'm trying to lead now.
The other night I went on a walk all by myself, which is something I rarely do. I found myself walking part of the route that we used to shuffle along. I paused on the corner that we often had to pause at to give me a little rest before making the return journey home. I remember the first time you sat in the forward-facing stroller instead of being perched atop in your carseat. You were so quiet, such a quiet little baby, but your legs just wouldn't stop kicking. You were so excited to be facing the world head-on. It must have been quite a different perspective for you, rather than watching the sky and leaves pass overhead from your bucket seat. You were kicking so hard I remember stopping to make sure that you were securely buckled; your mom and I were afraid that you were going to kick right out of that stroller with your excitement. Thanks for being my cancer-kicking buddy.
Spring is starting to show its pretty face around here. Soon the crocuses will be up. They are my favorite springtime flower. Let's go for a walk again soon, okay, and look for some crocus flowers? This time we can walk together because neither of us needs the stroller anymore. I miss our walks.
I love you, Calvin! Happy birthday!