Thursday, December 6, 2012

Swings and Roundabouts

You ever have one of those months? You know the one where every where you turn it just seems there is one more obstacle in your path? Well that was my November, starting with the work in the studio.

My hands hurt. My whole body hurts. I haven't been able to do anything for weeks. It seems I'm not tolerating one of the cancer drugs very well.  But life is all swings and roundabouts.

While it's been just one more thing in the month of November that has made me sad, it has given me an opportunity to pause and decide what I want to do. Not a bad thing, really. I find myself moving to a more experimental direction with new forms, new ideas. When I can work, it's like playing. It's exciting.

My old dog Bob has entered his twilight years. Diagnostic tests in November came back showing that he has heart disease and tumors all over his body. He has problems walking and can no longer get himself up the stairs at night. But we help him, sometimes Peter carries him, all 62 pounds of him.

He is resting comfortably. We're seeing to it. He gets extra treats like peanut butter with his tablets. We've had him since he was 8 weeks old. He is an amazing dog who has brought us so much joy. We brought him back with us from Australia. (His ticket cost more than mine). My children grew through their teens and became adults with him. He'll be 13 in April and he's had a good life. He's getting pampered. Secretly, I think he's saying to himself it's about time I get extra treats and cuddles. But it still breaks my heart to have to acknowledge that Bob is not immortal.

 My son deployed for Afghanistan on the 12th of November. It's his third deployment and this time it has hit me hard. The hardest of all the times he's been away. He missed Thanksgiving with us, his favorite holiday. He'll be gone again for Christmas, the fourth Christmas in 6 years. But most of all it has hit me so hard that he'll be missing 9 months of his new son's life. So many mile stones.

But this time we've pulled together as a family in a way that is even deeper and stronger than before. Another opportunity. A time to be grateful that we have each other. And thanks to the magic of skype, my son got to see one of those mile stones. Brody laughs and coos at Daddy and even picked up his bottle with his own two hands for the first time just for Daddy.

It is hard to be sad when you have grand babies to love. Look at them! All full of giggles and smiles. Learning new things all of the time. Teaching me new things all of the time. We'll be seeing them again at Christmas. Decorating cookies and leaving a plate for Santa. There may even be a bowling outing in the future. There is nothing in life more entertaining than bowling with a 5 year old. Truly. You should try it. If you don't have a 5 year old of your own, you should seriously think about borrowing one.

And there will be Christmas in Afghanistan, with maybe not all of the trimmings, but stockings, teddy bears, candy canes, and even a Christmas tree.