A Great Escape

I met my boss, Ann, when I was a sixteen year old working at Friendly’s.  She was attending George Mason and was one of the assistant managers.  She’s been my boss for a LOOONG time.  Our paths crossed again my first year out of college.  I took a second grade teaching position at Dranesville Elementary, (Dave was also a first year teacher there that year but that is a story for another day) and Ann was teaching fourth or fifth grade at the time.  Fast forward a decade or more and I hear through the grapevine that Ann is now the principal at Herndon.  I shoot her a quick email of congrats and that started the ball rolling to me rejoining FCPS after a 16 year hiatus.  I’ve already waxed poetic about how much I love my job so I won’t bore you with all of that again – but I really do love my job!  Needless to say, I am very grateful to Ann for encouraging me to come back to teaching and creating an ideal situation for me.

Dave and I decided that the week of New Year’s we wanted to take a three day trip somewhere with the kids.  Our plan was to get the green light from his doctor that Monday and then head to NYC Thursday-Saturday.  Last Monday as we were sitting in the infusion suite at Hopkins looking at theater tickets online, we overheard from another “pod” the weatherman on the TV saying that it was going to be 16 degrees, windy and snowy in New York.  It didn’t take much discussion to decide that we would go somewhere else.  We spent the rest of our time discussing options, but didn’t really come up with anything so we figured we would discuss it with the kids when we got home.  Later that afternoon, I posted on Facebook asking friends for suggestions of destinations.  Many of them were for either an indoor water park or tubing.  Parker and Grant would LOVE either of those options but with Sammi’s OI, she wouldn’t have much that she could do either place.  So, in the end we thought we would head to Williamsburg or spend a night or two at the Hyatt Chesapeake. The problem with Williamsburg is that we have been there a lot so it hardly felt novel.  And the issue with the Hyatt was that we weren’t sure there was three days worth of stuff to do in the cold weather.

That evening, I got a message from Ann offering up her house in Colonial Beach.  She mentioned there was an indoor pool.  I thought “Oh that’s nice.  The community has an indoor pool.”  A few email exchanges later, I realized she meant her house had an indoor pool.  With a screen and projector for watching movies.  We happily and eagerly took her up on her generous offer.  Colonial Beach is less than two hours from our house.  We were able to explore the town on the golf cart.  We read and watched movies and swam and listened to music.  We napped and snacked and played games.  With Dave feeling run down after his chemo infusion it was the perfect getaway spot.  Grant’s friend, Sean, had been with us for the week so we just brought him along with us.  Parker also brought her friend, Paige.  There was a little excitement when a bird hopped into the house through the doggie door, but luckily he quickly flew his way to freedom through the back door.

So, once again, I am reminded how lucky I am to have a boss who is a friend or is it a friend who is my boss?  Either way, I am grateful.

xoxo

Robyn

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Awestruck

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Two of my friends are living in two vastly different places.  Both of their travels brought them to Virginia this month.  Both were traveling with their families – Lexy has 4 kids and Siri has 5.  And both of these ladies took time out of their vacations to provide meals for us.  Incredible, right?  I know I have said it many times before but there really are not enough words.  We have the kindest, most generous, most thoughtful friends in the world.  I am humbled and grateful and strive to be more like them.

xoxo

Robyn

Friends

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I got a package in the mail today from my friend, Lori.  She read my blog post “Have You?” and decided that she could take something off my list for me.  So, this caring, generous soul took time out of her hectic life (can you say 3 kids – 2 are twins!) and found some products that might help Dave feel better during his Y90 treatment and new chemo.  I have been blessed with Lori’s kindnesses before and am in awe of her.

On Monday, I spent a lovely couple of hours noshing on yummy chicken schwarma and falafel and catching up with my friend, Raba.  We had so much to talk about and shared and laughed and had the best time.  It was exactly what I needed.

Around 1:00 Tuesday afternoon, I got a text from my friend Heather’s husband wondering if she was with me.  We met at 10:30 for coffee so I think he was surprised that we were still together.  Michele and Heather and our Tuesday morning coffee dates have kept me sane this year.  We have gotten each other through the trauma of college applications and acceptances and soon the girls’ departures.  They have listened to me ramble on and on about a variety of topics and always bolster my spirits and remind me that I am not crazy when sometimes I think I might be.

Then there is my friend, Alex.  Alex and I have talked each other off of the ledge many times during our decades of friendship.  She is so good at problem solving, puts things into perspective, gives me her honest opinion, and she’s funny as hell.  What more could you need in a friend?

I should also mention the amazing women who I get to sit by the pool with each summer during swim season.  They are thoughtful, knowledgeable women who are willing to share their experiences and ideas.  I look forward to swim season because I know I will learn so much.  On Wednesday morning, they gave me TONS of ideas about what Samantha should take to school with her.  I love having this group in my friend village.

These are just the friends that touched my life in the last couple of days.  (You might be thinking “Robyn sure has a lot of time to sit around and gab with friends”.  This week I definitely made it a priority!)  I have this amazing community of women that I have known since childhood, high school, college, Gymboree, teaching, met through my kids, met through other friends, met through Dave.  Some I see or keep in touch with more regularly than others.  But no matter how often I see them or talk to them, I am so grateful to have them in my life.  I know that at any moment I can call out and they will be there.  Probably with coffee. and cookies.

xoxo

Robyn

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Grant Part 2

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When Grant was in the second grade, he would come home talking about his friend, Sean Michael.  He would ask me weekly if Sean Michael could come over to play.  Not being the biggest fan of playdates, I would say some along the lines of “Sure.  One of these days I’ll call his mom and set it up.”  And then another week or month would go by.  Eventually Grant pretty much stopped asking.  That spring, we got a note home from the school saying that the class would not be celebrating Mother’s Day since a mom of one of the students had died recently.  (You know where this is going right?)  I casually asked Grant if he might know whose mom it was.  He said he didn’t.  A few days later he came home and announced that he knew whose it was.  Sean Michael’s.  I asked him how he could be sure, and he said that at school that day he told Sean Michael that I needed his mom’s phone number to set up a playdate.  Sean told him he couldn’t give it to him because his mom was dead.  She died from breast cancer the August before second grade.  I may never NOT feel guilty about the many times I could have had him over that I just didn’t bother.  All those times he probably would have benefitted from doing something fun.  He spent lots of time with us that summer and was such a natural addition to our family.  The boys were two peas in a pod.

Sean’s dad relocated to Virginia from Texas with his wife and they moved with Sean about an hour away.  That was 7 years ago.  Grant and Sean probably talk to each other on the phone most nights of the week.  They play video games and computer games together.  When there is a break from school or a long weekend, they hatch out a plan to get together.  During the summer, they are usually lucky enough to have week long visits.

I will forever be impressed by two young men who have managed to remain best buddies over the years and distance.  They are still two peas in a pod.  Sometimes we’ll hear a laugh from the basement and won’t be sure who made it.  I am very proud of them both and the men they are becoming.  People are put into your life for a reason, but you have to be able to recognize that and act on it.  In some ways, they are mature beyond their 14 years.

PS Scan on Monday.

xoxo

Robyn

 

Oblivious

While we have been hunkering down in our foxhole fighting the good fight, so much has been going on to which we have been oblivious.  I had an opportunity to catch up with a friend this week whom I apparently haven’t talked to in a LONG time.  So many events have transpired in the last six months especially – parent stuff, health stuff, kid stuff.  I feel bad that I was so clueless.  Being in the presence of cancer makes you pretty self-centered and selfish.  I spend way too much time thinking about what is going on with us and not enough thinking about others.  I think I need to reenter the world from time to time to check in.  

xoxo

Robyn

A New Friend

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Yesterday I met up with a friend of a friend for a late afternoon coffee/snack date.  My friend, Lori, connected me with her friend, J, when J was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year.  We have exchanged messages here and there, but it was so nice to finally meet her in person.  I am awed by J’s strength and resilience.  Hers is not an easy path, but she seems to be handling it with so much fortitude and grace.

We talked about her cancer.  We talked about Dave’s cancer.  We talked about how very hard it is to ask others for help.  We talked about parents and their roles in the journey.  Eventually we talked about the big decision Dave is faced with this week – whether to continue chemo, take a break or go on a lesser chemo regimen.  It was so good to hear her perspective as someone going through the trials of chemo.  It is easy for me to get caught up in what I think is best, but it was so vital for me to hear from her how much a cancer patient longs for normalcy.  How great it would be to taste things normally or not feel neuropathy or not have the bad days that follow each infusion.

Dave has his scan tomorrow and then will likely talk to Dr. S at some point later in the day.  I know that he will make the best decision for himself and for our family.  After all, at every twist and turn on this journey, he has done exactly that.

xoxo

Robyn

PS J also delivered a t-shirt from Lori for Dave.  He will be modeling it this weekend at a gathering.  Pictures to follow.  :

Friendship

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These little girls were fast friends.  They played hide and seek.  They giggled and ran around.  They created games of their own.  All without being able to speak to each other.  One speaks english while the other speak swedish.  It was truly amazing to witness how that obstacle did not stand in their way.

We have had the best time this week.  I have heard stories old and new.  There were tons of laughs shared.  Dave and his college roommate, whom he has not seen in nearly 25 years, fell right in where they left off.  Other college friends joined them for assorted activities during the week.  My favorite part was watching the former tennis team mates on the campus at USC reminiscing about old times and the great fun they had.  Jan’s kids also got to trick or treat for the first time, and Camden does Halloween BIG.

It has been the perfect break and escape.  Next week brings another scan and then some serious decision making.  Luckily, there hasn’t been much time to focus on that this week.  We’ve been too busy making new memories.

xoxo

Robyn