Thursday, April 5, 2012

Just the Two of Us

Kiana attended her wonders and worries class and was quite chatty about it on Monday after her bike ride. We had a long conversation which was the first time we used the word cancer frequently and even used it in the context of the memorial. There were moments she was clearly scared and asked to sit in my lap and said many odd things with one that it took all I had not to laugh, “Why can’t mommy move back in and just visit her boyfriend?” If only the world was as simple as children see it. The Wonders and worries person brilliantly pointed out though that this should be more on Kiana’s radar as she gets older both because of the medical possibilities but because I am choosing to get involved with things like the brainpower5k and the Livestrong events. That still all feels rather strange frankly but like loving your parents, the natural instinct is to love and give back to those who helped give you life, in my case both Part I and II.

It’s interesting trying to balance all the things in my life right now. Back during the custody and visitation negotiations on a tip from my friend, the midweek visits were set up during my running groups Tuesday and Thursday workouts both to allow me to get some adult social time, it allowed mother to see her twice during the week but also because it was time I didn’t use to spend with Kiana anyway so midweek to me there was nothing lost. The friend who had done something similar and suggested the idea, had also felt abandoned during a very rough time in their life, clearly picking up that there was both pain and anger from me said: “The way I got through it was just to think of it as a free babysitter who had to pay to babysit once in a while.” We had a good laugh but it would be less than honest to say that wasn’t helpful.

And it’s worked out for the most part with me doing most of harder workouts with Kiana with her mom and then pushing her on a stroller on the easier ones. However, having been found unconscious in the middle of a 10 mile run over a month ago, I hadn’t pushed her once since then till last night when I went on a happy hour 5k so I knew I was surrounded by people at all times. Somehow the idea of me collapsing on the side of the road obviously creates concern but a small child having to be helpless with that, made me put it off until I got all the medical results in yesterday (again, reinforcing why I got my doctor he said I should be fine with all types of things talking about how this should be in the blood at levels 20-60 last time it was at level 3 and now it’s at level 37.5 and sometimes when he goes on these extended conversations I ask questions and other times I just smile and nod).

Her mother and I still aren’t making much progress and I can’t really diagnose why since it’s been over a year since she left. The “hole in my brain” from the surgery took about five months before it would heal back over and the hole in my heart will take longer and while it has made some progress, I’m not quite there yet. But I didn’t stop using my brain while it was healing, nor do I stop exercising till I stop being sore, so I am still trying to love and be loved though there are some guards up. Either way, her mother is not interested in the counseling but, in light of both that and all circumstance, I still thought it was the wise thing to be putting in a legal plan into place in case my health ever dives, one of those break only in case of emergency portals, and while I had hoped to hammer it out with her over a few counseling sessions, I am doing it with a friend who either he or I will present it to her when and if it’s necessary.

So I am trying to balance cancer with single fatherhood. Helping her understand why I go to medical appointments, putting in legal paperwork, her doing some counseling. I’m also just trying to do the regular acts of fatherhood right with things like bicycle riding and cooking (still, she complained about my burnt tortillas this morning). Tonight we’re going to a special Easter thing and to Austin’s first Thursday where she’ll definitely get one of her favorite Amy’s ice creams. At my 30th birthday party, I said if you’d ask me at age 20 to predict my life at 30, I would have gotten one thing right: the person standing next to me. At my 31st (the diagnosis and all this other schtuff came between the two proving that life goes down hill at 30), I thought I would have gotten nothing right between the two but that’s not true. It’s still a girl next to me and while this one may not be there forever since it’s my job first to give her roots and then to give her wings, I am infinitely grateful she’s here now.

On my Boston playlist, there are songs throughout because she likes them or because they remind me of her. The last one from that camp that was added was Will Smith’s Just the Two of Us ( because of many lyrics like the car seat one which I spent some time on. There was a time Kiana had a fever, the first health insurance claim my insurance ever took and they got yelled at quite a bit when operators in another state couldn’t tell me where the Austin children’s hospital was. When she gets shots and cries, I do too (the crying, not the shots). And when I was sitting waiting for the MRI after being on the side of the road I sat there and cried as I thought of her. But the main lyrics that got that song put in:

It didn’t work out with me and your mom
But if push comes to shove you was conceived in love
So if the world attacks, and you slide off track
Remember one fact, I got your back

It makes me nervous that Ronald Reagan when the memory part of his brain got eaten away, he didn’t remember being president. My great grandmother didn’t remember someone she’d spent 70 years with. Our emotions don’t necessarily overrule our left temporal lobe. I don’t know if the memory will go but if it does, I hope that one fact about this little girl is the last thing I remember.


  1. J. You're a great father and an inspiration. I pray your fight continues until you are a very old man.

  2. read your post! so many're a great dad

  3. one word why the ex won't go to counseling - Guilt