It was one of those casual but pleasant days. Rain on and off, and few people seemed to be bothered. Independent kids. Good sandwiches from a local deli, an amazing cake from Baskin Robbins (shockingly so).
Steve has been a twin for 42 years (sorry for the age disclosure, su mezilla). Since I have known him, at least one parent has been with his twin sister on the day. This year la mezilla went without her folks for Steven and the surgery and all that followed. So my surgical issue was a good excuse to have Steve with both his parents on his actual birthday for the first time in twelve years (when twins turned 30, we celebrated in Bodega Bay, ahhh).
I had thrown it out there to invite anyone around, and despite the camping tendency for the weekend (for most of our friends), the Toby and Bea (and awesome spouse) Glioma team drove from the peninsula, my siblings came with their boys, a few good friends and their spouses (and their children) from our twenties/singles eras and VT from school (she would not put the dot to make the question mark on my head complete, but that is another story) all arrived this afternoon. And for a glorious 4 hours, we just hung out and ate and chatted and chased around the kids. It rained and folks came in, it stopped and folks drifted outside and in. It was just simple and pleasant.
Five years ago, Steve spent his birthday in Buenos Aires, his 92-year old grandmother had died the day before. So he got to spend his birthday with his mom and some good friends at a wonderful restaurant in Buenos Aires (because his grandmother had just died). In the last 12 years, he has spent 3 birthdays with his mom and 2 with his dad. It is so weird to me that one was due to his and his sister’s turning 30, one due to his grandmother dying, and one due to his wife having brain surgery. Man, he is a good sport.
For him, I think the highlight today was hanging out with Paco’s godfather, JM. They have been friends for almost 20 years: right out of college. JM brought him a huge remote controlled car. And for an incredible time, he and friends hung out in front of the house and just played with a car. For anyone who knows Steve, this is an ideal time spent.
For me, I had a couple of highlights. I did not sleep well last night (about four hours: Steve, snoring like you would not believe…holy cow so loud). And I was not functioning well. I was so tired and just physically worn out. I was so glad to see people but I was, indeed, weirdly quiet. VT and Bea both seemed…not worried, just slightly confused by my demeanor. I was also not really drinking which is odd in itself. Instead, I had to take Vicodin due to my head. And in general, I was not sad, just tired.
I felt so at home. (Yea, yea, in our house). No, rather I felt so low-key and relaxed that I was not so angry or frustrated at much once someone got there (VT, the first!). I was just happy to be around people who knew me well and did not freak out about my questioned-marked head, nor seemed intense. It was easy.
[I have been hitting the level of schmaltz a lot. But today it was more intense due to the fatigue and general feeling of celebration.]
My beloved nephew, Bdublet, had taken a formidable nap earlier. So Bdub, the big brother, came late, at the end. Bdub and I spoke about the rush of the week: the clean MRI after the surgery, knowing words, liking my husband, loving the boys, etc… And I helped him change a stinky diaper (a strange level of bonding, but it was a true bond).
Brandon and I had gone through a quick talk about my brain, the possibilities, and what to do next. Brandon is an exceptionally easy-going fellow. He always has his life in perspective. I think he has said two negative things to me in fifteen years and both times he was sooo correct.
When it was time for them to go, Lemon and I walked Bdub and Bdublet to the car in light rain. Lemon held my hand and was just enjoying being outside.
And suddenly, standing next the car door, saying goodbye, I just burst into tears. Not sad tears, just overflowing tears.
And I just cried in relief. I cannot remember exactly what I said to Brandon, I think it was, “I am sorry, I am just so…grateful.” And Brandon held me like an awesome big brother and told me I was feeling what I should be feeling. And he just held me there, while Lemon held my hand. And I was safe to let joy escape into my brother’s arms.
I still do not know whether or not there is, was a new tumor growth in my head or was there just radiation damage. I’ll know more about the future in a week or so. But the surgery was so clean and I am so functional; I am swimming in relief. I keep breaking into tears feeling like I am in a waterfall of euphoria.
As Bdub left, Lemon walked up and down the sidewalk, holding my hand. He liked being in the light rain. I have not spent much time with him alone in the last ten days. So for a few minutes, we stood in the rain alone. I think that was the other fantastic moment. Simple appreciation. Simple gratitude. Simple relief. Holding my Lemon’s hand.