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Shifting the Burden

Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel. -Gilbert K. Chesterton

Freeing ourselves from our burdens is not always possible. That does not mean we are doomed to break under the pressures of family, occupation, or self.

Today, my sister and I brought Abraham to the hospital to flush the port in his chest, to be examined by the radiation oncologist for side effects or signs of regression, and to confirm the route we will take to amplify his decreased hearing due to the ototoxicity of chemotherapy.

All of those things are difficult.

Yet, all of those things are who we are.

Here is Abraham in the Chicago Sports Room waiting for the nurse to come with her tray full of needles and syringes. With all the pains and discomforts and inconveniences and exclusions that cancer has thrown at my little boy, needle pokes are the toughest part for him.

Yet, there he stands proud of his hat, and although he was definitely afraid, when the time came, he took his seat and allowed Nurse Jessica to do what she needed to do – because that’s just who he is.


Sometimes, recognizing our responsibilities as part of what makes us whole and unique shifts the weight of what we must carry to what we are made of; thereby adding substance to our sense of self and reducing the pressure from our sense of duty.

Peace, love, and shifting perspectives

Snoopy Time

It doesn’t matter what you believe just so long as you’re sincere. -Charles M. Schulz

Not everyone celebrates Halloween.

Not everyone eats candy.

And that’s ok.

Us? We have two young sons who enjoyed both yesterday.

In the last two years, Abraham’s health has made conventional Halloween fun a challenge. In 2014, he was recovering on October 31st from brain surgery the day before at the age of six.

He, Tommy, and their cousins celebrated early that year at a trunk-or-treat. Our little Minion didn’t feel well, but he made it through.

Two years ago today, I updated friends and family post-craniotomy:

‘Intense day yesterday, but turned a little corner last night. Ate a tiny bit; talking more. Doctor very pleased with the surgery results.

Line of the day:

Nurse: That was a good idea, Abraham!

Abe: You can call me smarty pants if you want to, even though I got no pants on!’

Always a jokester, even when he is recovering from brain surgery and hooked up to monitors galore.

In 2015, Abram was seven and battling infection and the effects of chemotherapy. He and I celebrated together quietly in the hospital.


This year, we are eating up every aspect of the season together as a family.


Abraham has to be one of the biggest eight-year-old Charles M. Schulz fans around. He has vintage Peanuts books, memorabilia, encyclopedias; you name it.   It is also his dream to be a comedian or cartoonist one day.

It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown started our family weekend rolling. Like the Peanuts gang, his old soul is straight out of the past where kids were kids and the world was a welcome playground. To be hospitalized on a sweet, spooky and silly holiday two-years in-a-row was unfortunate. So this year on Halloween, Abraham and his brother Tom were able to just be together and have some fun.

Times have changed and so has trick-or-treating. We only went to houses we knew, but we made the rounds, because this pup needed to ring some doorbells!

With each achievement, we celebrate. We celebrate childhood. We celebrate mobility and stamina. We celebrate family and friends. We celebrate happiness.

We celebrate life.


Peace.

Willing Dreams

So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable. -Christopher Reeve

Today is Sports Day at Taft Shool. Abraham decided he would represent his t-ball team “from when he was young,” and Anthony Rizzo’s team, the 2016 history-making, pennant-clinching Chicago Cubs.


Some people dream of winning it all. Others seek international fame or great wealth. I envision a kinder, healthier world for our children and grandchildren. If you ask eight-year-old Abraham Daily about his dreams, he will tell you, “I just want to be able to grow up, and I want to have a job where I can make other people smile-like a writer or a comedian.”

So let it be.

The realization of any dream originates somewhere in the mix of intention, determination and application. Oftentimes, the pursuit of that dream may seem unreal. We may feel the world or the odds are against us. Plus, we cannot simply will our dreams into place.

But dreams can come true.

To get past our doubt and to embrace our vision, we must believe; we must work; and, we must persist. Though first and foremost, we must be willing to dream.

Why bother when so many dreams cannot come true?

When we work towards the possibility of fulfillment despite the scarcity of chance, a single dream actualized could result in an extraordinary life.

Rizzo and Recovery

Never give up; for even rivers someday wash dams away.  -Arthur Golden

Last night, Chicago Cubs First Baseman Anthony Rizzo answered a full count, a Baez fastball, and a two-for-29 hitting slump with a solo homerun over the center-field wall. 

In the sixth, he hammered again to center for a two-run single.

In the eighth, he singled to left as the Cubs momentum ignited and the team blazed a 10-2 victory in Game 4 of a best-of-seven which tied the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers.

There was also a telling moment in the 7th inning where Anthony apologized to the umpire, Angel Hernandez, for having voiced his displeasure about a strike called in the 5th. That humble act alone shows that we are all human, but how we choose to express our humanity defines us. 

A year ago today during Abraham’s first round of chemotherapy, we met Anthony Rizzo at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
Anthony had Abraham sign his jersey:

That day, The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation gave us hope. Meeting a compassionate, strong, and dedicated athlete who went through his own battle has stayed with us and continues to fuel Abraham’s recovery. 

Anthony realized during his own battle with cancer that no matter how difficult fighting cancer was for him, it was even more difficult for his family. Anthony believes that an individual does not battle cancer alone, but that the whole family battles it together. The Mission of the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation is to raise money for cancer research and to provide support to children and their families battling the disease. 

Much of the battle against any disease is in the mind set. When we stay positive and believe in a strong future, the days become tolerable and the journey becomes meaningful. 

We are grateful today and everyday for individuals like Anthony Rizzo whose efforts model perseverance and positivity on both a personal and national scale.


Peace, love, and strength…

Autumnal Attitude

“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face.”
― John Donne

Change isn’t always better.

Change can be scary, or damaging, or wrong.

But change is the natural order from whence forces conduct so a fresh line of hope can be drawn.

The beginning of this school year was distressing for me. Abraham and I have been inseparable for the past 18-26 months. Dropping him off each day is like sending him off to kindergarten all over again. Only this time he’s emerging in his third grade element, and I’m stuck, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

But as the days pass, I am wearing a positive groove into our routine, and my attitude is slowly improving. After all, I couldn’t ask for a more supportive group for our son than the staff and students of Taft Primary School.

For instance, the homecoming parade was across the field from the school. Abraham was able to walk there, but having the energy to return was a completely different story.

So the new principal, Mr. Lee, gave Abe a piggyback ride most of the way back to school. The kids thought it was great fun, and once again, a school situation that could’ve been beyond Abraham’s ability was not only possible but downright warmhearted and enjoyable. I must learn to rely on others now, and give myself some space to rebuild.

A friend told me that I needed to be as good in giving myself grace as I am in sharing it with others. I thought about that quite a bit over the weekend. I’m not sure where to start with myself, so I will do what always feels best; I will look to nature to find direction and peace.

Autumnal attitude comes as a second spring of color where even though the chill of winter is nearing, we warm to the idea of fall. I remain absorbed in the well being of my family, but I don’t want worry to mute the bright colors emerging from our recovery.

So, I’m going to take the advice from my dear friend as well as from Mother Nature and practice grace and depth born of natural change. With enough practice, I hope to find peace along the changing landscape.

Peace, hope, and faith…