Friday, November 20, 2015

A Million Thousand Hundred Times

The other night, as I was tucking Quinn into bed, I overheard him whispering to his favorite stuffed animal, Bunny.

"Mom, I was telling Bunny how much I love you."

"I heard..."

"I love you a million thousand hundred times," he said. Sometimes it's "to Pluto and back" or "to the Milky Way and back" or "to all of the planets in all of the galaxies." We have a theme.

"I love you that much, too," I replied, my throat catching. Some nights, his sweetness just floors me. Especially when I've got another scan around the corner and he is seeming to grow up more with each passing day. Can I freeze time? Keep that one tender moment locked in the safe space of my heart forever? Keep all of them there?

Quinn Tornado from Jennifer Campisano on Vimeo.

When I was diagnosed, I wasn't entirely sure I'd get to be here right now. In fact, I had a dream shortly after -- sometime in the fall of 2011 -- of  a toddler Quinn holding someone's hand at a funeral I was pretty sure was my own. The statistics said I had a one in five chance of living to see Quinn turn five, let alone see him start kindergarten. Only twenty percent of women in my situation would make it to the five year mark.

This week, Chris and I have toured three different elementary schools trying to decide where to send Quinn for kindergarten next year. For another time: when did choosing a kindergarten get so complicated?

But kindergarten. My boy.

And me. Maybe just maybe going to get the chance to buy him a new backpack next summer, go school supply shopping with him, see all that he has to show us as he learns even more clearly how to express himself.

It could happen.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Getting Our Affairs in Order

Shame on us, really, because we should have done this years ago. Along with finishing Quinn's baby book and organizing our family photos. See, also: throwing away leftover Halloween candy, drinking more water, and stepping up my cardio game.

But with the death of both of Chris's parents in the last few years (his mom just this summer), not to mention my string of luck health-wise in 2011, 2012, and 2013, it became more and more clear we needed to have our affairs in order. It sounds so final, to "get your affairs in order," but really, it's just the smart thing to do. I'm not planning on dying anytime soon, but you never know. That proverbial bus seems to be all over the place these days.

Also, I'm a lawyer. I know it's important to have an estate plan, if only to keep the courts out of things at the end of your life. Lord knows I don't want some Arizona probate court deciding what becomes of this guy, god forbid and fingers crossed and knock on wood. 

So we met with an attorney, who will draft a plan for us and set things up so that Quinn will be okay even if Chris and I both get hit by a bus. 

I held myself together through the meeting, despite having to talk about what happens if Chris (or I) remarries, who makes decisions if one of us is on life-support, who would get custody of Quinn, and whether you can legally enforce requests for certain included elements at a memorial service, such as the singing of "Ave Maria." (I think this last one was Chris's attempt to lighten the mood. I was trying not to choke on the knot growing at the back of my throat.) 

I know in lots of ways these are first-world problems. We have a house, we are educated and have a college fund for our son, and we have family to care for him should something happen to both of us, which is admittedly unlikely. But something about incurable cancer and making very concrete plans for the end of your life and having scans in two weeks came together to have me ugly crying in my husband's arms this weekend, asking him who would remember snack days at school for Quinn, or register him for soccer and swimming (and make sure he gets to both), or put notes in his lunch telling him how much he is loved? And would he remember that I'd done any of these things for him? Would he remember me? 

Oh, yes, I went there. 

My death is not imminent, I don't think. I am getting to be Quinn's mom, which has made me the luckiest person on the planet these last four-and-a-half years. Mostly, things are pretty good here. Other than cancer, I can't complain! Which is along the lines of the question, "Otherwise, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

But, oh, can mortality be a terrifying thing.