Celebrate, Celebrate, Dance to the Music
"I feel like that needs to be celebrated." ~David Rose, Schitts Creek
Whenever I write about my younger sister, Lindsay Sommers, I'm tempted to play her hits: born on Christmas, yoga instructor, mom of two, the most resilient person I know. But over the past year, after my cancer diagnosis and a pandemic, I've learned the value of listening to the deeper cuts (thank you music friends...you know who you are). One thing I rarely mention, but deserves some recognition is Lindsay's ability to make the mundane into a celebration. She surely gets this knack from my dad, Jack Harris.
Growing up, I remember how dad used to love to "stretch out Christmas." In our family, we open gifts one at a time, everyone taking turns. It was a rule that the opener got everyone's attention. Presents lasted hours and we took time to appreciate every gift. I intend to carry on this slow-paced gift-giving tradition with Zoe and Emmy. I love the attitude of gratitude. I have hunch...dad just never wants the fun to end.
Lindsay loves both. She makes the small victories and big events even bigger. She plans and creates and organizes and re-organizes (maybe you can chill a little sometimes, Bud) and presents beautiful tables, hand-written notes, delicious menus, and fun activities. And the best part is, she is always there when I need to celebrate, and when ANY one of her friends or family needs a boost. Having a crappy Monday? Lindsay will be over with a Pintrest-worthy care package in 20 minutes. Break a finger nail? She's ordered you nail hardener and found a YouTube tutorial. Have kids that need to be entertained? She's come prepared with ice pops and a picnic. Need to cry because you ate too much cheese? She'll rub your back and let you cry. (Those last two are based on actual events) For her, celebrating is her way of using gratitude to "stretch out the fun."
Since I began chemotherapy at the beginning of the pandemic, I wasn't allowed visitors. As restrictions eased up a little, I was allowed to bring my mom, Michael, and my older sister, Stacy, each to one treatment.
A few months ago, Stacy had the great idea to return to a vacation spot in New Hampshire where my family spent a few summers in the 90s. Stacy, Lindsay, and I will return to Clear Water Lodges with our husbands and kids this August. This is literally a dream-come-true.
I met Michael on the last few days of 2009. His extremely generous parents have hosted family in their beautiful Hilton Head home for years, and I have loved every stay since 2009. We have not been able to visit since Emmy was four months old, but everyone has worked it out so we can be there in the beginning of August.
So that's two upcoming vacations. But that's not what we'll be celebrating...
...When I started chemotherapy in April of 2020, my Carcinoembryonic Antigen, an antigen number which my doctors use to determine how bad my cancer is, was 1,248. A normal range is 0-4. Today, my number is...
My doctors' have determined it "safe" and have approved me to take a full cycle off of chemo!
There are signs all over the Perelman Center, where I receive treatment, that encourage cancer patients to "ring the bell!" Reasons to "ring the bell" include: the end of a treatment, the beginning of a new treatment, good news, or just because you feel like celebrating.
So here's your prom-posal, Bud: There is no one I would rather help me ring the bell on July 26th, my last treatment before a month of vacations and celebrations, than you! Will you please go with me?
P.S. A friend has been receiving chemotherapy after being diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Her LAST chemotherapy treatment before MAJOR surgery is July 26 and we'll be there, at PENN, at the same time. We'll both be ringing the bell. Even more reason to celebrate! Any good vibes for my friend are as appreciated as all of those sent my way.