We are in the third month of 2020. Coronavirus has us in its grip. Every other moment is an “oh shit” moment because I touched a doorknob or my face or didn’t wipe down a hard surface. Lordy, there are so many hard surfaces in my life. Over the last three years I’ve considered hard surfaces and where I breathe and what I touch because too many people in my life have endured cancer and cancer treatment.
Fuck you, hard surfaces. This is for my mama who is going through another round of radiation. She is samurai-ing back the new cancer spots on her spine. She loves to sit in the back yard and look at the birds. She told me she wanted a pair of binoculars so she could see them more closely. Tonight I found her a pair of binoculars. Tomorrow she can sit in the backyard and see her birds. She thanked me for the find of the binoculars, she hugged them to her chest and she carried them into her room. Earlier, before she went to radiation treatment, she sent me photos of the blooming trees in my backyard. She reminded me of how beautiful they are. Yeah, my mom and I have met the hard surfaces before. But hard surfaces pale in comparison to the beauty around us.
And maybe, just maybe if we let go of fear, we won’t have to wait until cancer or coronavirus to appreciate the beauty of life around us. I’m sure going to try.
At 9:00 p.m. on July 1, 2019. Max texted me: “Are you home. Mom. Mom. Are you home. Are you home right now.” I responded: “Yes honey. “I’m in my room. Where are you?” He responded: “In my room.” I texted back: “Okay lol. I love you.” He texted back: “I love you too.” Max’s room is 10 feet away from mine. Love doesn’t know distances. I’m so grateful for that. We are all closer than we think to love and beauty.
I used to say I didn’t want to be a mom. But now, I can’t imagine my life otherwise. My sons have made me a better human being. They have given me the capacity to be a better daughter, friend, partner, lawyer, and whatever else I am meant to be in this life. It isn’t easy. But nothing worth having ever is.
Last week, Max headed off to New York to audition for the jazz studies program at New School. We’d had a challenging week beforehand so we didn’t have a chance to shop for cold weather east coast clothes ahead of time. We were packing the night before. I gave him my wool socks and we were putting multiple sweatshirts into his carry on. He didn’t have longjohns, so I said, “I’ll give you a pair of my yoga pants.”
Early the next morning he texted me, “Mom, should I wear the yoga pants under my jeans on the airplane?” After I thought about it for a while, I texted him back, “Yes. You should.” And my son wore my mermaid yoga pants to New York. In this family, we don’t do hard surfaces. We do mermaid yoga pants and samurai fights. We do love and we kick cancer’s ass. Wash your hands. Be who you are. Unabashedly. That is how we win the fight against coronavirus and cancer and fear and hate. Be a mermaid, you badass, beautiful warrior. I love you.