Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bidding farewell

Well, here it is again, New Year's Eve. I know that our family will be more than glad to bid farewell to 2013.

Oh, the whole year itself was not bad. We had some wonderful times. A few highlights...Our family went to Pensacola again and had a ball. The boys are both enjoying school. David retook and passed his boards and remains a Fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics. I worked hard at building my freelance writing business and did pretty well. I ran in my first five-mile race on Thanksgiving Day. William had his first piano recital, which went very well (he bowed at the end of his piece, which brought down the house), and Andrew sang with the preschool contingent in front of the whole church on the Children's Sabbath. William is reading on a seventh-grade reading level, and Andrew is eagerly looking forward to playing soccer this spring. And of course, David celebrated the Red Sox winning the World Series again this year.

But this was also the year that my father-in-law Aaron was diagnosed with lymphoma for the third time in less than four years. Cancer takes a lot out of a guy. So does the treatment. And we worried. Worried but hoped.

We worried over him, as he began chemo in November. We missed him on Thanksgiving, but we knew that it was better for him to stay home and rest and steer clear of us and our germs (between David's line of work and two little boys, we are always germy). We resigned ourselves to not getting to celebrate his birthday on Christmas Eve with him this year, too. But we all told ourselves that we'd look forward to celebrating the end of chemo with him sometime in January. We held out hope for a bone marrow transplant after chemo, hoping that it would be the cure, the cure. We told him that we couldn't wait for him to see Andrew play his first soccer game. And maybe see William play a few basketball games later this winter, like he did last year. We looked forward to eating burgers and drinking Coca Colas with him when he felt better.


Unfortunately, Aaron's body just couldn't make it that far. On Christmas Eve, on the day of his 71st birthday, he went into cardiac arrest at the oncology clinic. It was over, almost before it began.

We were all shocked. No, surely not, I thought. No. The chest pain that Aaron had been experiencing that morning was supposed to be reflux. Or perhaps a panic attack. Something. Not a heart attack. Not a fatal heart attack.


Unfortunately, it was true. Aaron was gone. And he is gone. And yet, I can still hear his voice in my head so clearly. I know, and yet somehow I don't know.

As I wrote on Facebook, in the shocked days after his death, Aaron was a devoted grandfather to William and Andrew. He adored them, and the feeling was mutual. He attended soccer games and basketball games and read stories and served giant (seriously) bowls of ice cream and defended "my clients" when they got rowdy and caused trouble with their mom or dad. They had code words that they said back and forth to each other ("hooty hoot!").

I will always be so glad, so grateful, that the boys got to spend so much time with him. William, especially, has so many terrific memories of his Grandaddy Aaron, and he will always cherish those. David and I will, too. One of my favorite Aaron-and-William memories is from when William was almost three. Aaron went to the preschool to pick William up one day, and a couple of the teachers spotted the two of them walking down the hall, hand in hand. "Ah ha!" one said. "Now we know exactly where he comes from!"

Two of a kind: William and Aaron.
There is so much more I could write. I could ramble on and on here. But the most important thing is this: we loved Aaron. David loved his daddy so, so much. I loved my father-in-law. The boys loved their grandaddy.

Oh, yes, we will miss him so much.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas from my house to yours.

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Peace on earth, and good will to all!

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Smile for the camera, boys!

A few years ago, I used to start worrying about taking the perfect Christmas card photo before Thanksgiving even rolled around. We had always received armloads of cards with pictures of beautifully dressed children who posed and smiled perfectly for the camera, and I always wanted to be able to create one, too. 

Well. Getting the perfect Christmas card photo of our two boys was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Sometimes, I'd get a good photo of William, only to catch Andrew looking away from the camera. Or Andrew might finally smile for the camera, only for William to be groaning for me to hurry up. Or the picture would be blurry. Argh.

I usually wound up cobbling together my favorites, even if they weren't perfect, and made a card with those pictures. At least they made me smile, I reasoned. 

This year, I knew I wanted to use a favorite beach photo for our card, so I wasn't even concerned with trying to get a good Christmas-themed photo of Andrew and William to use for a card. So when we recently made the rounds of Cheekwood and Santa's workshop, I brought along my camera and mostly just snapped photos for fun. No wheedling with Andrew to just please look at the camera, please please please? No asking William to please settle down and stop dancing around. 

And wouldn't you know it? I got some terrific pictures of the boys! They're just being themselves. This is what they're really like. 

And you know what? These make me smile...a lot. Hope they make you smile, too....