Oh, small victories, I bask in your glory. It’s been almost 24 hours, but I am still bathed in the warm glow of the finished social studies project. Not only is it complete, no blood was shed, and it’s easy to transport. Yesterday, I felt like the genius of the ages for my 7th grade abilities, I’m drifting back to reality, but still pleased-as-punch. I eased the staircase idea into a spiral staircase, and then just a spiral, which wound up more like a circular fan, but the boy was pleased and content and went off to bigger, better things, which will show up on YouTube, no doubt. It was as simple as this... I had a stack of 5”x7” pieces of sturdy white cardboard at the studio, for a packaging idea that never came to fruition. I took a stack and drilled small holes in the lower left corner. Boy had his timeline in a document, each entry, the requisite four sentences. We formatted it to be 5” wide, printed it, cut out each paragraph and glue sticked each one onto a card. Then he printed out corresponding pictures and as I glued them under the words, he drew a colorful border around each one, assembly line style, then we strung them onto a wire and fanned them out into a circle. We were going to separate each card with a bead, creating height, hence, staircase, but he was happy with the fan and that kept me from stability issues. Not only that, I focused, I put my distracted thoughts and computer tasks aside, ignored the laundry and the dishes, and focused on boy. We talked about the civil rights movement, we talked about the project, we had fun.
He wasn’t happy with the fan I brought him back from Mexico, it was not “masculine” enough. Laugh, go ahead, but as I was rifling through the assortment of fans, I was, in fact, looking for the most masculine, but since the previous fan, white with multicolored sequins and red, lacy stitching is his heart’s content, to what baseline for masculine should I refer? The white fan was for me, but he co-opted it immediately. Boy loves the white fan, he can flip it open with an inperceptible twitch, which I’ve yet to master, so I thought he’d enjoy a fan for each hand, double happiness. Every night before bed, he’s up to fan-flicking antics, so I picked out a black fan with red sequins, none of the blue sequined fans folded properly, so I settled on red (ok, I admit, they might be more magenta than red).
Boy has given up singing It’s Raining Men, in favor of the Let It Go song from Frozen, but he’s still whistling the theme from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly throughout the day, he's obsessed with that tune. One song morphs into another, as it does, I think for all of us. He went on a field trip, an accidental field trip it turns out, to see Oliver at Trinity Rep. We used to watch the movie all the time, I love that movie, love those songs, so he's been singing those as well. Who will buy this wonderful moment, such a sky, you never did see, who will tie it up with a ribbon and put it in a box for me? Apparently, Mr. Zen’s other class was supposed to go on the trip, but J got a permission slip by accident, so they let him go. I don’t know why only one class got to go, over another, but I’m glad he snuck in. He always seems to be in the wrong class, the class that doesn’t go. Unlike his brother, the perpetually chosen.
Something got me really agitated the other day, really annoyed, upset, and I wasn’t sure what to do with myself, didn’t want to start calling friends to vent, I had that manic, pissed off energy, but didn’t want to get in deeper and Let It Go popped into my head, and so I let it go. I swear, song works. I enjoyed Frozen because many of the recent kids movies have given me a headache or put me to sleep, but in pondering, it’s still no Lion King, or Jungle Book, or Toy Story, although damn, that Let it Go sequence despite the 5 seconds that pisses me off, yes, it’s the exagerrated hip swagger near the end, is sublime. I actually watch it on my computer occassionally, it makes me feel better. I love the colors in that scene.
The tall one is horrified when I do this, so I keep the volume down. What a change between before and after... trip, that is. I was near strangling that one before I left and since I’ve returned, he’s nothing but charming. I get compliments on my food, he’s not pestering me to make him lunch, he’s helping with things without emitting sounds of torture and misery. Last night he talked me in to watching a movie with him and he let me pick, and then, he started telling me how alike we are. That stemmed from neither of us wanting to see Gravity, even though everyone tells us how great it is. He says it would just make him anxious to which I say “I know, I just don’t see the point of making my heart race for two hours.” We agree, and we don’t like scary movies either, but he went on to say that we are intellectually similar, we think alike, and all that. Make a mama cry. I suspect we think quite differently, but as he’s impressed with his intellect, considering me, goofy, clumsy, gullible me his intellectual equal, or attributing his intellect as coming from me, is quite the compliment. I often focus on our differences, because we really are very different, and have had extraordinarily different childhoods and experiences thus far. Our first 18 years, and our personality types could not be more different. But in certain ways, we do have similarities and for all our differences and arguments, we have a beautiful bond, all the more sweet and humorous for such differences. There are certainly some mother/son things we share, and to have him acknowledge that and be proud of it, well, pretty priceless, because otherwise, dude is a handful. I think spring is going to be spectacular. We’re going to have a graduation party, a big, giant lawn party, the 50th bday party I didn’t have, the done with treatment, still alive party I didn’t have, I can put all that into a graduation party for my son, my beautiful, first baby I ever held, son, who is on his way to a great life, I just know it.
A friend the other day wrote that as far as she understood it, I was now out of the woods. Maybe I should let people believe that, but I told her the stats, that no, I’m not out of the woods. Triple Negative Disease, as they call it, is a whole different animal from the other breast cancers, the one’s most are familiar with. I told her that in the first five years after treatment I have a 30% chance of recurrence and any recurrence will kill me within months because of the aggressive, invasive nature of this particular cancer. For all the talk of awareness, for all the ribbons, most people don’t understand that every cancer is different, very different, I certainly didn’t, until it happened to me and I became a professional patient. I am about a year and a half out and this year and next are my highest risk years, after five years, my risk drops significantly. Come on five, roll a five, give me a five, hell, give me 10 or 20.
That’s why the scuba diving is so important. Diving makes me feel invincible, powerful, and gets me to plan ahead, something I’m otherwise afraid to do. My obsession, my addiction, causes me to start planning my next trip while still on a trip, and that is a good thing. I have to outwit, outsmart, out badass this cancer. I have to be in a mental place where if any cell dares replicate abnormally, my bad ass, motherfucker, kick ass, don’t mess with me immune system nips it in the bud, rolls right on over it, mows it down, crushes it like a wee little bug. I have to feel invincible, because that will make me invincible, and that’s what diving does. And the joy of seeing my boy graduate and move on to bigger and better things, to watch him on the cusp of adulthood gives me power, so this spring will be my season of joy and power and masculine mexican fans, for which I will gladly continue my search.