Tuesday, December 04, 2007

what we have

A lifetime ago, when I taught English to kids who didn’t speak it, I’d pick up my students’ patterns of speech as often as they picked up mine.

In our multicultural classroom, I must admit we ended up speaking a kind of Amalglish by mid-year – a form of English mixed with common learner-errors, high school slang, and my personal tics*. Sounded something like this:

“OK, guys, let’s talk about your homework. Did you read the paragraph?”

“No Miss, I have too tired. And the book it’s like, blah blah blah*. Why it talk so much?!?”

“There’s no blah blah blah. Your reading is bad! Let’s read it together.”

The kids did eventually learn to speak more correctly, but some of the phrases stuck with me, especially that Spanish transliteration: I have tired. I have hungry.

Right now, we have sad at our house. This thing we know about Thomas, about the facts of our life, is very heavy. But somehow, we are still who we were. The language of our house is toddlerese; our cancer vocabulary doesn’t cross over as much as it has in the past.

One reason for this is that we are in a surreally blissful window where Thomas is off of chemo and not in pain. We haven’t seen him without drugs for very longbefore now, and it is a beautiful thing to see. He is talking and eating and trucking around on his trike, inspecting leaves and collecting acorns. He has figured out that the ladies love to be blown kisses and that most of the time, it’s funny when you put something on your head. Sad does follow us everywhere, and it looms ahead, but right now, we are a family, we are together.

Another reason why our cancer words have been put in storage for now is hospice. I was very grateful to learn that one of the main jobs of hospice in pediatric care is to reduce our load as the “project managers” of cancer. For this stretch, we get to just be parents. The calling around, getting the meds, getting the equipment, asking the doc the questions, getting the paperwork to and from the correct offices –that stuff isn’t our job any more, and that is a very good gift.

We are grateful to not have to look ahead just yet. Days with Thomas are as bright as the leaves he marvels over on our walks: vermillion, saffron.

We have sad. For now, we also have Thomas, and he outshines.

*To find out your verbal ticks, teach a group of kids to talk like you.

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At 2:53 PM, Blogger Carolyn said...

As bad as the “C” word is Hospice is a bazillion times better. I’m so glad you found them!! My heart is heavy and I pray for you all the time. Stay strong.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger Mrs. Bick said...

Sometimes the most incorrect English is the most endearing. For me, with my language limited and challenged deaf kids there was "I been done that" and "Thank you for my dear (with signed antlers on the head)".

I especially love those little blown kisses. For that I can honestly say "Thank you for my deer!(with antlers waggling)"

At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


God has a way of shining light on all of us in unique ways. Kim and I are praying for you and your precious family.

Ryan and Kim Iltis

At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful days for you. I am glad.

After teaching Korean kids for 6 months, I drop my articles all the time. I told my mom, "I want to get Dad Product RED t-shirt for Christmas."

Thinking of you guys,

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Mrs. Rowe said...

Thinking of each of you with love and prayers.....yesterdays, today and all of your tomorrows.

At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

we don't know one another but 'lizard' is a mutual friend. i've subscribed to your blog and have prayed for you guys many times. thanks for these beautiful and heart-wrenching words.

At 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am saddened to hear the most recent news. I have followed your story from the beginning. I pray for many enjoyable days with T. I am glad hospice is there to care for you and help you. I pray that you have a Happy Holiday. May GOD richly bless you.

At 7:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He does outshine.


At 7:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too have been following from the beginning, linked thru RLP's blog. As a mom with a 19 month old son, my heart breaks as I chronicle your journey. But as I read the decisions you have made over these last two weeks I realized: love has made you more brave than anyone could ever imagine they can be. To face death and still choose the joy of living...it is a glimpse of eternity. Could Thomas have stronger love than what the two of you and your family have--and will continue--to provide?

I pray for you every day.

At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah, I completely understand the ESL thing- since I am still in that realm. :)
I laughed with you at your comments today. I sometimes feel inferior in my conversations with regular Americans b/c it sometime doesn't flow smoothly.
I cried at how you are so gracious to receive the gift of Thomas, the gift of hospice and, ultimately, the gift of sharing your life with others- Thomas is a lucky guy to have you point out the vivid colors of life. Praying for you and yours....
anne mangefeste

At 9:20 PM, Anonymous DeeNeen said...

So many delicious memories, so much love. Enjoy every moment. I love you dearly. DeeNeen

At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sad to hear your news about little Thomas. So many have been praying for Jehovah Rapha to do a miracle and heal your beautiful boy. Our hearts are breaking. May our loving Father wrap His arms around you and hold you and your family in these days. Lay your head on His chest and rest. And grab all the joy and hugs and kisses in every moment.


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