Monday, September 27, 2010

A Short Bit About Being Alive, or Life, Death, Buses

Fall has set in and Jessie is fully engaged in all of her activities—including Propeller Dance, hip hop, music, drama, and teaching dance—in addition, of course, to school (where she will be doing a work placement at the Food Bank starting later this fall). She is managing her schedule incredibly well (although that’s never really been the issue, the problem is usually how I am managing it!), including learning two new bus routes so she could get herself where she needed to go independently while I was away at a 4-day retreat with a trip to Montreal tacked on to the end.

While not a novel observation by any means, the more responsibility she is given (where there are few to pick up the pieces—except all those neighbours and friends we have co-opted as back-ups and guides) the more she rises to the occasion. While I was away, Dan said she did a great job taking care of herself and supporting him in what he had to do. I know there were probably many glitches, and probably many snacks that might not make it on the nutritionist’s list; however, she not only survived, but felt a proud sense of stepping up to the next level.

This will probably be important as we head in to this fall, as I might be away at unpredictable times; my father (Jessie’s beloved Grumps of the two-stomach fame) was just diagnosed with cancer. While it was odd to go straight from a 4-day silent retreat to a meeting at the oncology department, Jessie’s response put it all into perspective for me. When I called her later that afternoon and shared the treatment plan with her, she was ecstatic. I tried to tone her excitement down a bit, not wanting her to hold on to magic cures (my Dad is, after all, 80 years old, and as I told Jessie, likely to die in her lifetime), trying to keep her focused on a reasonable reality.

“But Mom!” she said, as if I had totally missed the point, “Today he is ALIVE!!” That he is Jess. That he is.


Adelaide Dupont said...

Best wishes for Gramps.

(I like to think of [1] where the cancer is and [2] the 1-year and 5-year survival rate).

And for Jessie at the food bank and all her activities.

And of course for you, Nan.

Life is the most reasonable unreasonable reality there is. And not human life only.

Anonymous said...

today he is alive! and so are we!! (liz)