We all know I love Miami, but damn do I miss LA. Luis is there for work and while face timing he showed me the view from his West Hollywood hotel. I wanted to jump through the phone.
Blog title borrowed from poet Ted Kooser
I am a mom, psychotherapist, writer, and cancer survivor. I live in Miami with my half-Cuban, half-Spanish husband, our old-soul three year-old son, our firecracker 18 month-old daughter, and my longtime friend, our dog Trixie.
Memories are so cool, like the way EVERY time I eat a pear I think of West Wind Montessori School in Vermont, where I went as a kid and where there was a pear tree growing outside, from which we picked and ate pears every fall.
Every time I drive by the donut shop on 41st Street on Miami Beach
I remember the first time Diego ate a donut.
Luci was a tiny baby and we were waiting for my friend, who lives nearby, to get home from work for a dinner date.
We had time and there was the donut shop and so what about dessert before dinner and the kid had never had a donut, so.
It was crowded and I pushed Luci’s stroller to the counter and ordered an old-fashioned donut. There was no place to sit so we made our way through the crowd and out the door.
We sat on the curb next to my parked car, and Diego ate the donut, slowly and quietly the way he has always enjoyed treats.
And it was just a Tuesday or a Wednesday or some other day, in early fall. It was just a curb and a kid and a donut, his mama and his baby sister.
Still, I remember that afternoon and all of its details
every time I drive by the donut shop on 41st Street on Miami Beach.
I breathed life back into my long-dormant HuffPo blogger profile today, with a story based on something I wrote here. I don’t know how many likes and shares it takes to be considered a popular piece on HuffPo, but the response overwhelmed me.
In the end, for me, it’s all about stories. It’s why I read books and blogs, why I became a therapist, why I write about my life. It’s why I love long conversations with friends and short ones with strangers. It’s why I cherish co-creating fantastic tales with my son as we lie side-by-side in his bed before he falls asleep.
Stories connect us, teach us, challenge us, and make us laugh. They punch us in the gut and leave us to think and compel us to live better lives.
Stories are powerful.
Thank you all for sharing yours.
Our lives are richer for it.
Today is my birthday!
I spent the first half of it driving all over Miami for radiation, to see my oncologist, and for my weekly infusion. Then, my best girl came over with her kids and we had an awesome afternoon playing at Fairchild Tropical Garden.
I am on my knees at the end of this day, overwhelmed with gratitude for my health, my happiness, my faith, and the extraordinary beauty in this world.
Cheers to the best birthday of my life!
There is a man who works at Trader Joe’s who, when I was wearing head scarves, always said, “Hey, supermodel!” When you’re going through chemo and you’re tired and pale and obviously bald underneath, a comment like that is a little nugget of gold that you can put in your pocket and feel its weight for a little while.
Today I went in without anything on my head. I was leaning over the bananas when I heard his voice, yelling. “Look at your hair! You look so cute!” He went on about it and we laughed.
It’s never really about me looking good, it’s just simple, powerful, enthusiastic kindness.
My pocket is heavy with gold today.
It’s true, what they say, about three.
A slice of our three:
I want it…I don’t want it…screamcry…I WANT it…I DON’T want it…screamcry…I WANT IT!…I DON’T WANT IT!…scream cry…(“it” refers to food, clothing, baths, bedtimes…)
This is especially fun when we are trying to leave the house or when it occurs in public.
This is Radiation
I drive in rush hour traffic to Sylvester Cancer Center. I listen to NPR. One of the valet guys hands me a receipt and drives off in my car. I check in at the front desk. The older man there has always spoken Spanish to me, because of my last name. We chat in Spanish and I think about how that is one of my great joys: Speaking a language, with relative ease, that I began to learn at 16 and is now threaded through several layers of my life.
Two radiation therapists call me into The Room. It’s a large room, the centerpiece of which is a giant machine with a long, movable arm extending over a table. I take off my shirt and lie on the table. We chat about the weather, laugh about how I’ve started using mousse to tame my sprouting hair, or remark about how quickly time passes—in reference to kids growing up, counting down radiation sessions, moving through a day.
While we talk they adjust my body, half a centimeter at a time, so that the marks drawn on my skin line up with lasers shooting from the machine’s arm onto my chest.
They leave the room. My head is turned to the right. I am still, as instructed.
They tell me to hold my breath, and I count the first beam of radiation. 12 seconds. The arm moves. I hold my breath again. 10 seconds. Hold breath. 5 seconds. Arm moves. Hold breath. 15 seconds. Done.
Every day I am surprised by how much thinking happens in those less-than-two-minutes:
Oof, my arm hurts. Can’t move it; breathe through it. I wonder how much these machines cost? How long did Luci cry after I dropped her off at school? So interesting that this all feels familiar, that cancer becomes familiar just like anything else. Will I have time to swing by the supermarket before picking up the kids?
The therapists help me off the table. I rub pure aloe vera on my skin and put on my shirt.
"See you tomorrow," we say.
I wait for my car, then fly home on the expressway. There is no traffic now.