Sunday, November 22, 2009

Saturday November 21 - The Reader, the Writer and Rod

Tara is happy this morning, because I didn’t sleep over at the hospital like I said I would when she went to bed last night. She greets me like she hasn’t seen me in a week.
I had told Tara that we would do something special today. She was to think of something we could do in Truro.

This morning she announces, “Mummy, I want to go to the library. I want to get some good books to read.” I point out that she is in the middle of a thick ‘Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul’ plus we have a house full of books that she hasn’t read yet. But she persists. I smile, at the thought of our preteen daughter wanting to go to the library for kicks. I wonder what she’ll want to do for fun when she is a teenager.

This morning, I let Tara read what I wrote last weekend. Specifically about our little night-time chat. I told her that I thought that I had made a mistake and wrote about her personal things. I wanted to know how she’d feel. Joye, a clear thinking mind at work, brought this indiscretion to my attention. Joye was right on. Tara was not impressed. We went back and edited the day. Ikicked myself about not thinking about her -–I'’e been so focused on you I didn’t even think.

Another warning sign. I have to step back. It’s almost an obsession that I have about trying to keep you in the loop. Thanks Joye – Tara is happy now.

Yesterday, you tell me that you weighed 157 lbs. The dietician has dropped your night feeding through the PEG tube by 1/12th . You are eating much better then a week ago. I can’t see that you will need the night feeds for much longer. The dietician has limited your coffee and Coke intake to one of each once a day. She thinks that this will help the constipation.

Last night you had a craving for a chocolate bar. A Cookies and cream chocolate bar. I went to the gift shop out to track one down for you. There are none in the gift shop but there are other bars. I got your two other favorites: Reese’s peicec’s and Skor. You seem very happy with the choice.

We don’t travel light on our weekend visits. Today we have the keyboard and ukulele along with Quinn’s school bag full of french books to read and picnic lunch.

You are still a little down about “being a failure at standing”. You try to boost your spirits by talking about how lucky you are to have such great children. Normally, I would have absent-mindedly agreed about the great children part. But today, for some reason, I felt you needed to hear that there was an important reason that we have great kids and it has nothing to do with luck.

“When you work hard at something that you are passionate about and do it well, you wouldn’t think of yourself as lucky. No, you would think that you deserved success. The work may not even seem all that hard because you do it with love in your heart. The raising of children is no exception. You have worked hard at this job and you have done well. Don’t feel lucky feel proud.”

Quinn climbs into bed with you and you have a little chat with him while Tara plays the keyboard for you. “Quinn, you are growing up super fast right now, and I think it’s because of what happened to me. I think it’s good for you and you are a great kid. I’m proud of everything you are doing. School, music and sports.”

I tell you about the journal that Quinn had started at school. I haven’t seen it yet but his teacher was impressed with it and will let us have it next week after the report cards are finished. Quinn picks up his book bag and reads to you. You have a little difficulty following the lines but your memory for french is fine.

The kids and I plan how we are going to see the parade tonight, while you get a call from an old friend from BC, Brett. You haven’t seen him a three or four years. You say “I love you man” in your open and feeling way. You try to sell Brett on the great properties on the east coast that could be bought easily with the proceeds of a BC house. You share with him your experience at the Boston Marathon.

I read to you more cards, while Tara and Quinn finish put the cards up on the wall your bed faces. I also read a newspaper article, about Linda Wagar, that your mother sent us. Linda is a runner and community organizer for many things who had an aneurysm in October. Among many hats that she wears, one is to raise money for young athletes by selling her book about marathons stories. I have ordered her book, ‘Canadian Marathon Stories’ for you.

We set you up with the Notre Dame game and head out – It’s like the old days ... You are watching football and we’re off to do some things. On the car ride to the library Quinn says that he is wondering how time can pass so slowly for you and pass so quickly for us. “It’s like the hours that are taken away from our day is added to Daddy’s day. It’s weird.” Quinn says. We had just spent 4 hours with you and Tara said “It didn’t seem long at all. It seems less then an hour.” She suggests it’s because without you, our routines are different. I have noticed this same time shift myself - Maybe she is onto something.

At the library, Tara gets another Chicken Soup book this one is for the teenager’s soul. She has read almost half the current ‘Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul’ and is eager to move to the next book. Apparently she plans on growing up fast – so much for the ‘take your time getting older’ talk that we had to other day.

I drop Tara and Quinn at Juanita’s and plan to meet them of dinner in an hour and half. I just get home and start some housecleaning and the phone goes. It’s Rod Carew! He is stuck in Denver waiting for a plane. We talked for about 5 minutes. He asks how you are doing and if you can talk on the phone! We strategize how and when we could set up a phone call to you. “I want to tank you for calling, Mr Carew.’ “Ccall me Rod” he says.
“Give him a hug for me” He says.
“He is feeling a little stuck right now and your call is coming just at the right time.” I tell him.

Oh Gosh! I am so excited for you.

I suddenly realized after I said good bye to Rod that I had double booked myself. I promised the children that I would go to the parade and now I am also supposed to be by your side to ensure you get the phone call from Rod.

I panic for a minute. I‘m not sure what choice I should make – you or kids. Is this some kind of test for parenthood that God is giving me? I decide to call Tara and Quinn at Juanita’s house and share the news and feel out how they feel about me bailing on the parade. “You promised to come to the parade Mummy.” Knowing that this was also important to you they added “At least come to the first part of it.”

Once I get off the phone I scramble to get info about flight times from Denver to Chicago and time zones etc. I calculate that if I left the Santa Claus parade shortly after 7pm then I would be safe. I call you at the hospital to prepare you for the phone call. You never liked surprises – I figured that the benefit of the call would be reduced if I tried to surprise you with it.

I execute the plan – meet Juanita and children at the animal hospital. We walk to the start of the parade. I hang out with the children for about an hour and make it back to the hospital a little after 7 pm.

As I rush through the carefully timed plan, I realize that this does not feel anything like the quality time I am used to giving the children. I might be able to get them to think it seems like quality time … for now but I doubt I can fool them for much longer. I need to be there for them without a rushed schedule bouncing around in my head.

At the present – this is how my life has been and will likely be for a few more months. I worry about the price they might have to pay for my divided attention.

You would often tease the children about their birthdays. You would try to tempt them with the idea of a ‘Super Birthday’ celebration. You would dangle this idea for them with the added hitch that they would have to forgo the birthday this year to get a Super Birthday next year. They saw it as a raw deal and never took you up on this. Lately, You mentioned the idea of a ‘Super Christmas’ since this Christmas will be a little weird. You said “Maybe next year, we’ll have a Super Christmas!” They still are not interested.

Well, I’m not looking forward to a super Christmas or Birthday but I am very interested in a ‘Super Family vacation’. A vacation that is not weighed down with schedules or pressure to balance your emotional needs with their emotional needs. I can’t wait until we can have an day off all together.

As we wait for the call, you calculate that you have been a Rod Carew fan for 29 years. You had to do a presentation about Rod Carew in french for school. 29 years … 29 seasons. It seem ironic that it’s the magical 29 pops up again especially as we come close to 29,000 hits on your journal.

At 9:40 pm, the phone rings, It’s Rod. You answer the phone “Roscoe’s Meat and Wicker” Then a pause and then you say “Rodney Cline Carew! Thank you very much for calling.” Rod calls you the ‘miracle man’. You invite him to come to Nova Scotia. “You’ll have a place to stay… Do you run? We have a great relay race around the Cabot trail. If you want a leg.”

It’s a good talk and he says that he is going to call periodically and see how you are doing. You believe him. He was very sincere and caring guy - I want to believe him.

I hope that Rod’s call has the same effect on you that your pep talk had on the children. This weekend is going to put you in a better place mentally and emotionally for attempting more intense physio next week. I can feel your energy.


  1. YES!
    I knew Chris' hero would call to urge him on! I am so glad I checked in with your journal today! Hope this gives Chris a spark to continue his marathon!

  2. WOW what an great time for him to call. Yet another miracle and this is just so awesome. You also are doing so well and do remember to somehow take time just for GWEN and don't feel guilty or anything about it.

  3. That is so terrific! That he called; that he was kind and caring! What a wonderful time for Chris I am sure! YAY!

  4. oh gwen ... that is amazing. i knew it would happen. i knew rod would call. it HAD to happen. you guys truely are blessed. mr carew is a very special person to call chris. and the children will understand ... just not this minute.
    you are becoming such an amazing juggler ... i really don't know how you do it. just don't forget that ball that always gets forgotten ... the dr gwenn ball. she needs to be looked after as well.
    (nice seeing you the other day ... sorry i had to rush off. i am always running late for classes :) )