If you asked my sister-in-law if her cup is half-empty or half-full, she’d probably look at you funny and say, “It’s not “half” anything! It’s full! Full-full!

Some of you may remember reading that she had to undergo a double mastectomy for breast cancer back in April 2008. A double mastectomy that meant that her dream wedding and dream honeymoon would be cancelled so that she wouldn’t have to worry about chemotherapy ruining things.

That alone would have crumpled more delicate flowers, but my sister-in-law is made of stronger stuff than that.

Not only did she come visit us a couple of weeks post-op, she got married on the beach shortly thereafter and, oh yeah, went through a surprise pregnancy during chemotherapy.

Then she found out that her baby–her one-and-only baby–had spina-bifida.

But a lot more than nutrients seems to have passed through that umbilical cord: My niece isn’t letting anything slow her down, even walking on her own this year and making me wish more than ever that they didn’t live so far away.

And today, she is two.


Happy Birthday little one, from your family way up here in Massachusetts! We can’t wait to see you next year. And, Nancy (and that cute husband of yours), enjoy that birthday cake and the extra birthday hugs. You (both!) deserve all the love you give back in spades.

Six years

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year and, today, the days get gradually longer, minute by minute.

I woke up thinking this on the sixth anniversary of my dad’s death: He died on the morning after the darkest day, as if he wanted us to remember that things will soon be brighter.

I think of him a lot, of course, though six years seems to be my threshold for that punch-in-the-gut sadness I used to feel. Now, I remember him with sadness for all he has missed–continues to miss–, but also with a kind of stoicism and resignation that yes, we all are born, live and die. The End, time marches on, and can I have a snack, Mommy? It’s hard to dwell when there is so little time for quiet.

But, my dad would’ve hated anyone dwelling on him too much. He would’ve delighted in the lives my sister and I have carved out in this world, and he would’ve been pleased to see our mother staying active, making friends, keeping busy.

He would’ve loved to have a beer with you. He would’ve worn a goofy Santa Hat just to make my kids smile. He would’ve offered to help with that squeaky door.

He would’ve told us all another story.

Unfortunately, the only story I can seem to remember, even six years later is this:

On December 22, 2004, my father died. And, though the days are getting brighter, minute by minute, I don’t think they’ll ever be as bright as they were when he was here.

If you think aliens came and took your sweet 9 year old away. ..

. . .and replaced him (or her) with some temperamental, moody, unpredictable (though still lovable) being: Read this.

Many thanks to my friend Lori for passing this on when she knew I really needed it. It makes me feel so much better knowing that I’m not the only one who has walked in these shoes before.