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Jason

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A few weeks ago Michaela (our 2 year old) began hinting there was another person in our family.  His name is Jason.  At first we couldn’t figure out who Jason was.  He would show up in odd moments and our nanny was convinced SHE was being referred to as Jason.  After inquiring it became clear Jason was Michaela’s imaginary friend.  Jason was a trouble maker sometimes.  Jason is not simply pronounced “Jason”.  Rather you must pucker your lips and express a deep drawn out ”JAAAASSSSSOOOON”.

Bailey (our 5 yr old) had never mentioned any imaginary friends.  Growing up I had my BFF Tiffany so it has tickled me to have a kindred spirit in Michaela.  As our family has become more immersed in Jason’s personality we have begun adding him to our daily questions.  “Hey Michaela where is Jason?”  From what I have surmised he is potty trained, a voracious reader, and an avid jokester.  He loves to make messes, hide at bedtime, and cause trouble.  He is her imaginary friend and her alter ego.  Jason is awesome sauce.

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Three weeks ago my dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer.  It was a shock as I am sure it is to any person finding out there dad is not invincible.  The doctors were quick to get surgery scheduled and within days we had the date.  March 29.

My world shook the moment I knew something was wrong with my dad.  Realistically we know our parents will get older and have health problems.  However it is just something we take for granted until a test result slaps us across the face.  My little brother (Rob) and I immediately launched into action making plans to be there.  Logistics wise we both had a ton on our plate but within 24 hours we had travel coordinated, work off and spouses taking over at home.

The family plan was to meet the day before surgery, stay together the night before then do hospital shifts.  Between my mom, Rob and I my dad would never be alone. The doctors felt confident the cancer was only in his kidney. Everything sounded rational and on paper it made sense.  However I knew I wasn’t alone with the feeling of complete and utter fear.

Tuesday I left my girls, Mike and our animals and got on the train.  I spent 5 hours thinking about him and honestly dreading my arrival.  What do I say? How do I act? Do I cry? Make jokes? Will they cry? My role in our family has always been the planner/cheerleader.  I typically take charge (even when they don’t want me to) and lead.  Armed with the team bracelets my daughter had made us I arrived ready to do anything to help my parents.

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The first hour was a little rocky.  My dad was understandably very nervous and my mom was trying to be a comfort while managing her emotions.  He wasn’t allowed to have any cocktails and he didn’t have much of an appetite.  We chatted about surface subjects and idly waited for Rob to get into town.  When he did we headed to a quick dinner in anticipation of our early morning.

I’m not sure when the subject of Jason came about but it did.  My family giggled at the Jason stories and we started making up new stories about Jason.  Everyone pronounced “Jassssoooon” with the deep voice and curled lip I showed them and it just kept getting funnier.  For some reason Jason brought out the child in all of us.  By the time we went to bed we had spent most of the evening laughing and swapping stories.  We bunked in the same room and my brother started cracking jokes in the dark.  We were laughing so hard I was in tears.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I felt like such a little kid hanging out with my parents.

The next day was LONG.  We checked in a 6am, dad’s surgery was at 9 and he remained in solitary recovery until almost 5pm.   At one point the nurse allowed each of us to individually visit him.  While walking back I was anxious. I wasn’t sure what he was going to look like and wanted to make sure I seemed confident and encouraging.  I walk back and in his drugged state he looks at me and says, “It went good honey. “Jaaassooooon” was in there helping out!” I cracked up.  Good ole Jason had been there watching over my dad the whole time.

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Over the next few days Jason continued to be a theme.  In the patient room next to my Dad’s there was a sheriff supervised patient.  We joked Jason would protect us.  When dad started walking we would say, “Have Jason go with you”.  Even when I left this morning I told dad I had to bring Jason back to Michaela.  Our faith was always present and Jason served as our angel.  He made us all laugh when we really wanted to cry.  He encouraged us to have fun rather than worry.  Jason brought out the childlike banter we had been accustomed to and gave a light in the scary darkness.

My dad was discharged today two days ahead of schedule.  He exceeded the doctor’s expectations with his strength and determination. I heard the nurses talking about him saying he was fun and a joy to have as a patient.  We won’t know the final results until next week but his surgeon felt confident they would be positive.

As I sit on the train riding home I can’t help but smile.  Watching my dad exude the qualities I love most about him filled me with pride.  At 77 he is focused and optimistic.  He is ready to tackle anything and is stubborn to get back to his active lifestyle.  He is serious about his health but can giggle with Jason.

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Jason provided the senseless relief we needed and I can’t help but feel so much admiration for my children.  We wore the bracelets my daughter made us through the whole process and my parents implored us for more grandchild stories.  THIS is the reason for family.  The knowledge and love we receive from our elder’s passes to our children.  Our children provide purity and unabashed wonder to us.  It is absolutely awe inspiring and I travel home with a heart full of love and hope.

Sending the essence of Jason to all our readers!

Xoxo

Mari

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Confessions of a somewhat good person

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When I think about the differences between me at 35 versus me at 20, I see that the basic foundation is similar. I am definitely not an angel but like to think of myself as a pretty good gal.  People like me, mostly.  Lately I have been thinking about the antics younger me pulled and came to a scary conclusion: Younger me and older me aren’t so different and would probably be good friends.  For some reason I thought having kids and becoming an adult would miraculously make me a different, perhaps better person.  Oops. Do any of these sound familiar to you??

Adult me versus Kid me

As a grown up I knowingly make a difficult dinner and often do a bit of baking the day before our housekeepers come.  Dinner and baked goods taste better when I don’t have to mop up the flour my daughter spills and clean the oil off the stove top. Younger me rarely had a clean house but I had a special closet saved for emergency visits. This closet housed loads of laundry, fast food bags, and boxes of trash.  When people came over they assumed I was neat and tidy, not knowing about my stash. — In my late teens I worked in a department store. While working a boring day shift, I pretended to faint in order to be sent home.  The reason? My girlfriends were going water skiing and I wanted to go. As a side note, I don’t recommend doing this if you work in a corporate job.  Did you know state law requires a company to contact an ambulance if an employee faints? I was not equipped with this information and was surrounded by with a wide array of handsome firemen and EMT’s… On second thought if you are single this may be an excellent opportunity to meet someone 🙂 It couldn’t possibly be a waste of time and resources on the part of emergency crew. fireman A few years ago, I knowingly took a sick employee on a work trip with me because I liked her the most.  When we got into town she was horribly ill.  Since I had brought her I couldn’t have her call in sick so I taught her how to faint to be excused from her work shift.  Not to worry this environment would not necessitate a 911 call.  The bar industry calls a cab not an ambulance. —– In my twenties I was constantly running late. Instead of curbing my poor behavior I would count on people to forgive me because I was cute.  If they didn’t I would be confused, and wonder why they were so mean! Now, when I am in a hurry at Target I will look down and quietly cut off others in the check out line, then give my surprised, “Oh my gosh I didn’t see you” smile and it usually works. —- When I see people I haven’t been good with keeping up with I will duck the other direction. When I get home I will send them a message telling them I have been thinking about them and schedule plans to get together. Younger me LOVED running into people. It was so fun! I typically ran into them at night and we would be drinking and I would tell them how we needed to hang out the following week and forget to follow through. —— As soon as I got pregnant I traded in my shiny sports car for the largest most ridiculous SUV I could convince Mike to purchase.  Now that I am so big I am more aggressive and cut people off, knowing I am bigger.  I always smile, wave, and say THANKS as if they had a choice. suv When I was younger and couldn’t find a parking spot, I would park in red and put my hazard lights on.  This worked almost every time.  When my car was finally towed I figured it equated to a small price to pay for all the illegal parking I had done over the years. —– I have used the having kids excuse at least a dozen times to get out of something–usually work related that I don’t want to do. Years ago, the flat tire excuse worked at least a dozen times to get out of something–usually work related that I didn’t want to do.  —  In my twenties I became obscenely in debt.  I spent thousands of dollars on designer clothes and handbags and fabulous trips with my girlfriends.  Toward the end of my spending I recall using three credit cards to purchase one top.  I was not embarrassed. As a mom I try to buy key groceries on sale. I love seeing the “savings” at the end of the checkout and consider the wine I purchase to be free if it is the same amount of the amount discounted.  Hooray! yippee1(image from http://www.indieberries.com/)

Looking at this list I couldn’t help but laugh.  My parents swear I am a fabulous person and have grown up so much over the years.  They are biased.  I do know I am a much better friend than when I was younger.  I believe I am kinder, more empathetic, and genuinely concerned with others.  But today’s blog isn’t to tout my growth as a human being. xoxo Mari

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