After Sam’s surgery, chemo was really, really difficult. He felt worse, had less energy, more pain, limited mobility and lots of frustration. I was also burning out. I had spent almost every night with him, nearly 45 nights, had taken him to countless appointments, entertained him, enticed him with food, and attempted to keep my family somewhat intact. There was one night when we were in the hospital when I was feeling drained. The music therapist set up a chair a little bit down the hallway from Sam’s room and took out her mahogany cello. She began to play Vivaldi. The sweeping archs of the music and the deep baritone notes were overwhelming. It was the same music that played at my wedding, and the odd juxtaposition of the memories of dreaming about the future with the reality of listening to the music in the hospital while caring for my son with cancer was unsettling. I began to cry, which worried Sam, which then prompted me to explain. But how could I? How could I tell my son that I was so angry and resentful that cancer had entered our lives and taken over? How could I say that without him feeling guilty, as he is wont to do? So I just told him about my wedding, and how beautiful everything was. I told him that it was such a happy occasion, and that he would have enjoyed it. And I cried.
I love that phrase. I’m not sure if it’s the word, “darndest” or just that I chuckle whenever I think it. But it’s true! Today, while reviewing similes with my 11th graders, one student shared, “You are as cute as a baby.” I didn’t quite hear “you”, so I asked who? And the student said, “You, Mrs. Becker.” So I am as cute as a baby. Hmmmm. I really hope that she didn’t plan that one out. It would be hard to enforce rules if my students are thinking that I am cute. Could she have meant pretty? Did she like my outfit? I was wearing a spiffy coral scarf that my cousin sent from Singapore. Was “baby” the only thing that she could think to compare it to? Or did she misunderstand my question? Regardless, it made me chuckle.