Friday, March 2, 2018

Rewrite the Stars

On a whim on a slow day, Elaine and I went and watched the Greatest Showman. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've been amused at the fact the critics have panned it even as a critic within the movie itself did. An amusing anecdote is that people have derided its lack of factual accuracy... I'm a fan of history but a guy who went out and collected people who were different and exaggerated the stories. I imagine exaggeration and omission is jut one of the many ways its incomplete. Like Barnum himself, this is one of those movies that doesn't let facts get in the way of a good story.

Still, with that said, I own the entire soundtrack cause the girls in my house like it and we all sing along to it. We're even talking about including one song in a key part in our wedding. But there is one song that I seem to always skip, 'rewrite the stars.' It's a romantic notion and with less than 6 months to my wedding, I'm nothing if not a hopeful romantic but we didn't write the stars to begin with. And what we're starting at on nights with gorgeous darkness and brilliant points is past, a prologue of whatever the sky currently is. So it would be silly to spend too much time on things like that says the guy who started an astronomy club in middle school, who takes his daughter up to the roof on good nights or special evenings or has been telling her about how next week four planets will be visible in the sky.

It is perhaps why Elaine was kind enough to let our wedding have a bit of a logo for our save the date cards that went out recently. It is the Austin skyline a bit artsied up from when we started dating. Elaine picked out the wedding date of 8/18/18 to one up my birth of 8/8/80. The seals were hand applied by Kiana mostly cause fire and dripping wax are cool period but especially so when you're 11. We ignored and will ignore a lot of proper etiquette of names etc on invitations, putting on there what we call our friends and family. If being called on an envelope what we call them in person offends anyone, well they shouldn't come.  But there are less than subtle details in the skyline, in where we look up and aim highest that are there. Someone asked why there wasn't a small k or something there for Kiana who is part of our family that Elaine is marrying into. Kiana's the name of the Hawaiian moon goddess and look there's the moon. The other two are mine and Elaine's constellations. Mine has been one I've always embraced, how can a Leon whose high school mascot was the Lions not take Leo as part of his identity? Elaine doesn't quite have the same enthusiasm about hers but I make it up for her. It's honestly one I'd not paid much attention to till this project began but it's a crab, it's the cancer constellation. I've spent so much time energy and focus both internal and external, both giving and receiving about cancer that the universe was kind enough to say to me that if I had to deal with it in and its side effects till death, there was going to be good that also had cancer till death do us part. Maybe that's the real explanation of why I don't feel the need to rewrite the stars, both are about to be visible here for the next weeks in the northern Hemisphere, perhaps not coincidentally when I asked her to be my girlfriend.

The save the date cards had an infinity symbol as a seal, a side ways 8 which a few people gave me a hard time about but no one heckled her about that the stamp was a Chinese New Year Stamp! But see the sky keeps lining up nicely. Kiana and Elaine making from scratch dumplings for Chinese New Year's is a tradition I could get used to.

As I'll be looking at things that happened light years ago, March is an interesting month for me. Seven years ago today, I was checking into Duke for brain surgery on March 3rd. One year later I was waking up in an ambulance after a grand mal seizure in the middle of a 10 mile run. One year after that I was winning a marathon pushing a stroller. This year exactly 7 years after brain surgery, I will be back in Beaumont this time running the half, then doing a 40KM time trial on a bike than doing a roughneck challenge. It's the same thing Elaine and I did last year but she's been working out a lot more than me so we'll see how results change. But you
know what won't change, us going there together.

The tests seven years ago were blood work and an MRI etc.  I was worried about someone taking a slice of my brain, wondering just how much strangers the guy going onto that table and the guy coming off would be. This time, it's me on my own two feet, having learned to ride a bicycle, and then grunting through an upper body that lost a little bit of cancer but should have gained more muscle. The only thing I'm worried about a slice is something in a tire or in the muscles and I hope it doesn't happen but in the scheme of things...

When I won that marathon 5 years ago, there was a custodial case pending at that time her mother asking for me to go from primary caretaker to only have supervised visits due to my medical problems. Oddly enough, on Monday March 5th, we have another round of it with her mother now asking for more custody as well (the request is not quite as drastic this time). I am not quite sure how to not call it at least slightly silly that we allow strangers to make decisions about our children because parents can't work it out between themselves... I am handing the judge a few pictures early on so at least, at least he can put a face to the name. I slept well the night before brain surgery... perhaps because that doctor stranger had become a friend who I'd trust with my life. The judge and I won't talk before or likely after and it's a lot more nerve wracking to trust someone with any aspect of your child's life.

The stars aren't getting written today or tomorrow or Monday and how they shine through the future will not be fully known until the future itself. It would be dishonest to say that I am not worried about the possibilities and the path of unintended consequences. But I dare dream, no matter what there will be spots of light that line up, or at least that we imagine or impose patterns on. So tonight, tomorrow and every time my sleep is worried, the guy with the damaged memory will try to remember what Sarah Williams wrote, "I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."

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