Sunday, April 18, 2010


I remember feeling extremely relieved that I still had all of my toes on my 10th birthday. The relief wasn't because of any imminent danger to my toes (frostbite, gangrene, flesh-eating athlete's foot, etc.) but rather, a reaction to a story I'd heard about one of the neighborhood dads who lost a few toes to a lawnmower at the age of 9. I spent my 9th year studiously avoiding open-toed shoes and naturally, lawnmowers, and convincing myself that if I could just make it one more year I'd get to keep all of my toes for the rest of my life.

I suppose I could dismiss the whole thing as nutty 9-year-old logic but I think I was onto something way back then. The world's a crazy, uncontrollable place and it feels good to put some boundaries around little pieces of it.

I think I owe y'all an apology for that last post. Having a whine about the unfairness of my FIL's mortality is pretty bad form. To be clear, I do care about my FIL and I want him to live a long and happy life and I don't think that everything's about me. I'm going to have to break one my blog rules to explain myself. So, another apology to FIL for oversharing.

The diagnosis FIL received from his doc was stage 4 metastatic melanoma. This is the same diagnosis my father got 10 years ago and the same disease that eventually killed him. So, I took an unpleasant little trip down memory lane with a little side trip into despairing-mama land. Two grandfathers with melanoma isn't good news for C or for her over-protective mother.

I've spent the last 2.5 years minimizing risks to C's health and well-being. We spent months -2 through 7 on almost complete lockdown to avoid RSV exposure. During the cruising months we attached the furniture to the walls to prevent tipping and crushing. We don't permit bike-riding without a helmet, car-riding without a car seat, or uninhibited furniture jumpery. I'm sure that much eye-rolling and head shaking goes on behind our backs but we tend to ignore parenting opinions on this subject from folks who've never had a play date at the funeral home.

It's deeply troubling (in a Grendel's Mama sort of way) to think that life-sustaining sunshine could do my daughter in...even if it's fifty-odd years from now.

The good news is that I abandoned my initial plan to detonate a nuclear warhead inside the sun (you know, because the sun actually does more good than harm). But, I'm afraid that I may owe an apology to the people of Iceland and all of the folks stranded in European airports for that enormous cloud of ash that may or may not have been caused by a request I made to various volcano-related deities for some assistance with blotting out the sun during summer 2010.

Now you may be thinking, "TracyOC, you don't have the power to cause major geological catastrophes with your mind." And for the most part I agree. After all, I just did a little hunting around on the internets and didn't actually organize a ceremony or anything. And I have fairly solid proof that you don't always get what you ask for--even if you ask many times with great fervor. But I was also raised in a one-true-god culture in a volcano-less part of the world so I don't really know how it works.

I'd imagine things are pretty slow in the volcano god/goddess offices in this age of scientific discovery. Pele and company probably spend most of their days sitting around playing pinochle--all dressed up and nowhere to go like immortal Maytag repairmen. They were probably thrilled to get my request and jumped on it ASAP. Meanwhile, in the seriously ill child department...

I keep trying to figure out the secret to carefree living. Did I forfeit any chance when I became a mother? Am I genetically predisposed to worry or have I just seen too much bad news lately? Maybe there's no such thing as carefree for any of us.

And so, I'm sorry for last week's selfish rant and for the havoc that I may or may not have caused. I bought some broad-brimmed toddler hats and long-sleeved swimsuits yesterday so the world is now safe.

1 comment:

  1. Ah ha! So it is YOU, TracyOC, who has put the air space above this green and pleasant land into shut down!

    I don't think you need to apologise. It wasn't a whine and it is unfair. It certainly didn't seem selfish to me.

    I'm terribly sorry to hear about your FIL's melanoma. It must have brought back terrible memories for you as well as worries for C.

    My own mother had melanoma when I was younger. She had part of her calf removed and that seems to have kept it at bay (although I did spend several years confusedly believing she had been bitten by a shark). When my sister and I were growing up we had broad-brimmed hats, long-sleeved swimsuits and a mother who used to hiss 'death, death in the sun' from the kitchen window at us if we stayed out too long. I suspect that she is probably in cahoots with you on the volcano conspiracy.

    I don't know the secret to carefree living I'm afraid. Or I would happily share. Perhaps there is simply no such thing? x