Friday, September 10, 2010

Shirts Optional

Every morning after I see the kids off to school, I down a quick breakfast and cup of coffee, glance at the paper, then head out with the dog to one of our neighborhood parks (unless it's Monday, in which case we walk the golf course). One of our favorites is Winn Park, and we typically run into at least a few dogs and their owners there. Several times this week, we've seen a new dog (to us) and his owner.

This morning, I finally got around to introducing myself to the dog's owner, who told me that he was "Robert," and asked if my kids had been on the neighborhood club's swim team. A light bulb went off in my head, and I realized that he was "Coach Robert." I immediately responded, "Coach Robert! I didn't recognize you with your clothes on!" Ha!

Background...Coach Robert was quite popular among the swim team moms this past season. He is this gracious young Southern gentleman who also has an amazing body (remember, we saw him daily in his swim trunks) and a drop-dead gorgeous face. I have friends who unabashedly told me that they signed their kids up for individual lessons with Coach Robert just so they could sit poolside for half an hour and ogle him through their sunglasses. How could I not have recognized him in his street clothes? All I can figure is that the first time I saw him at the park with his dog, he was sitting on a bench with another guy, so I pegged him as one half of a gay couple (which he is not). (This is not much of a stretch as I live in a neighborhood with one of the highest gay populations on the East Coast.)

Looking forward to more mornings at the park with "Coach Robert" and his dog. Now if I could just figure out a way to make those park outings "shirts optional" for the guys...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Somber Post

Lanie, a friend of mine, recently started a heartfelt, heart-breaking blog titled "A Mourning Mom." From her "About" page:

I am a mother of four. Two of my children share a room down the hall from my room. Two of my children share a plot in a cemetery which is fifteen minutes from our home.

“A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his/her parents is called an orphan. But there is no word for a parent who loses a child, that’s how awful the loss is!” (Neugeboren)

I don’t have the answers to why Jake and Sawyer predeceased me. I don’t have the steps to get through the enormous grief and sadness which comes from burying your child or children. I am trying to get through this day by day. I welcome any and all advice, encouragement or support. I am hoping that I can assist others get through their difficult journeys. I want Jake and Sawyer to be remembered. I want to carry on their purpose in life (whatever that purpose might be).

Lanie's blog may be difficult to read at times, but her journey has been beyond difficult. I recommend that you take a look, and pass this link along to others who may be grieving the loss of a child (or, God forbid, two sons born years apart, as with Lanie).

And while I'm talking somber...

Yesterday I ran into a friend (category: moms I know because our kids went to preschool together), who mentioned that she had recently learned that a mutual friend -- let's not exercise any creativity and call this friend Jane Doe -- and I used to work in adjacent offices. I immediately responded "yes" with a smile, and shared my favorite Jane Doe story. Eight and a half years ago, I had just returned to work from maternity leave after the birth of my son. Jane stepped into my office and announced that there was a baby boy who had been born at the downtown hospital who was available for adoption. He had been abandoned by his mother at the hospital. What did I think? Should she adopt? I was floored. Jane was (and is) a single woman, maybe eight years older than me. I had no idea that she was interested in adopting a child. She has no family nearby to help. She travels for work regularly. We discussed the pros and cons of adopting this child (who had been exposed to drugs in utero) as if we were discussing the purchase of a new car.

Jane ultimately decided to bring this sweet baby boy into her life, and he is now in the same grade as my son at our public elementary school. So yesterday, our mutual friend asks, "Do you know about Jane's cancer?" Jane's cancer? Jane is a Facebook friend, and a prolific poster, but never ONCE has she mentioned her cancer on FB. Apparently Jane was diagnosed with stage 5 ovarian cancer months ago. She told my friend that she has a 5% chance of surviving more than 5 years. But I was also told that she has an incredibly positive outlook and that the cancer seems to be responding to the treatment thus far.

Please keep Jane and her son in your thoughts, and please God let her be among that 5%.