Monday, October 31, 2011

Still Haunted

Two years ago I was so sick. It was Halloween. I had given up candy for my new anti-cancer diet. It felt like it was going to be a long Lent. No Reese's peanut butter cups, again, ever. Really? Why live? But I was so sick that fall having just started chemo. My immune system dipped and with all of the bugs being brought home from school, I asked Greg to take me to the hospital. It was the only day that I was really sick during 17 rounds of chemo. I remember going to the door after returning home from the hospital when some early trick or treater, a young one, came to the door with her father before I was ready and had opened the plastic bags of Nestle Crunch bars and mini Mr. Goodbars. Who trick or treats when it's still light out? I couldn't be bothered to put on my wig. Boy, did they get a fright. I was so sad not to be able to go out with the girls on their rounds. They were vampires. I lay in bed and when they came home all jazzed up on sugar and dumped the pillow cases of candy on my bedroom floor I was too sick to even be tempted. The next day it was raining outside and I didn't let Annalise run in the rain for Girls on the Run because I was terrified of everyone getting sick, I had already cut to the front of the nation's Swine flu vaccine line pulling in a little help from some friends at DHS. With 3 small children how was I ever going to survive a suppressed immune system all winter? Somehow I did. And last year on Halloween, I was back to health. Little Luke went out for the first time, dressed like a little lion, tasting his first lollipop which he got from Chris Downey across the street, and having a cat jump out at him from around a corner beginning what would be a year long fear/obsession with cats until it was replaced this fall with a love of snakes. "Biiig snakes" and a trip to the zoo to see them every Saturday. I love Halloween. I used to organize the haunted house in Jerusalem and passed out candy to all the neighbors so that the American kids could trick or treat in Israel. But this year instead of taking my kids trick or treating, I am on a flight to Houston with Greg as part of our "book tour." Annalise wistfully asked me if I would be around for Christmas and her birthday since missing Halloween is right up there with missing these milestone events. I must say I am crushed that I won't get to see Luke head to school in his red devil which he thinks is a flying dragon outfit. I can't believe I am missing another one of these days that can't be repeated while the kids are still in this amazing age of innocence and wonder. I am wedged right now in a middle seat on a flight to Texas, instead. These trips are nice as a way to reconnect with Greg but what were we thinking? Just as we walked out of the house this morning at dawn a black cat was waiting for us. I am not kidding. Its yellow eyes shined up at me as it stopped in its tracks. I could not have made this up. I asked Greg, "Wait - if it runs straight away from you did it technically cross out paths?" We'll see, but all I know is I feel sick every time we get on one of these book tour flights together, thinking, "Oh God, how could we leave the children behind?" What if something happens? I had always promised my mom that we wouldn't be in the same place where there was shooting while covering a story. This is the height of irresponsibility.I said the Lord's Prayer on take-off today, just like I used to say it while I lay very still on the cold hospital machine during radiation. Let this book tour end and let me get home to my kids. Please.