Saturday, 7 August 2010

Can I Kiss You...?

My thoughts today weren’t really writing-related, and I started not to write them at all. But the feelings in my gut are just too strong. I’ve got to try to express them.

A few years ago, my daughter met a tall, lanky, good looking young man at a typical Texas poolside bar-b-que. She was so struck by him—something about him, besides his obvious looks—that, very uncharacteristically for her, she approached him and heard the words coming from her mouth, “Can I kiss you?”

That kiss lasted three years. They married. Oh, sure, they have their ups, they have their downs. But they’ve weathered them. And the way this young man—his name is Mike—weathered these ups and downs, the way he managed to protect my daughter fiercely while growing into his own maturity has endeared him to me. He is the proverbial son I never had.

Well, Mike has been diagnosed with lung cancer. He’s thirty-five years old. Monday, he goes for two days of testing at M.D. Anderson in Houston to chart an approach to treatment. The doctors are confident, optimistic for his prognosis. They feel his age, his good health and strength are positives. But, of course, there’s the anxiety. The word cancer just does that to people.

While I feel confident, too, it’s made me look so hard at my feelings for Mike, my love for him. For my daughter. And I realize I love him every bit as much as I love her.

He and my daughter are supportive of my writing. One of the most touching things about this support is: Mike told me that, in their cabin at Rayburn Lake, he planned for the attic/bedroom to be a writing room for me. The fact that he took my writing seriously enough to incorporate a space for it in their country get-a-way was one of the most beautiful things anybody had ever done for me since I started writing. Hey, I was flattered just by the fact that they included me in their resort cottage (I AM the mother-in-law, after all!), so the thought of getting my own writing room blew me away! And touched my heart. Really, really touched my heart. And we took it as a sign that the former owners of the cottage had left behind an old electric typewriter.

Although the cottage is being sold now, the beauty of their support still lingers and continues to be  a force that drives me. They are proud of me. THAT pride means more to me than a million writing rooms.

I am a slow writer. I’ve slacked and just can’t seem to get to that last paragraph, the words the end, of anything I’ve ever written. It is not that I do not write well. It is not that my stories are not good. I can’t tell you WHY I haven’t finished anything.

But I’ve made a pact with myself. A pact my beautiful son-in-law and daughter do not even know about yet. And it is this: I’m going to finish my WIP. I am going to dedicate it to them. I’m going to make them proud, to create a finished PRODUCT to give back the work that their support deserves. Sure, maybe that’s no reason to write. But it’s not why I’m writing. It’s why I’m going to FINISH.

So, Mike. My son. Let’s make a deal. You fight your battle, and I will support you through every second of it. And I will fight my writing battle and make you proud because YOU have been there for me.

I’m so glad my daughter walked up to this wonderful man on that sultry summer day and asked, “Can I kiss you?” It changed her life in beautiful ways forever, and it changed mine, too.


Unknown said...

With so much love and support, I have high hopes your son will come through this, Carol. I'll be keeping you all in my thoughts.


C. Zampa said...

Jaime, you're a dear. Thank you. I have high hopes, too. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Oh, gosh, now you've made ME cry! This is just beautiful, C. You are all in my prayers, and my foot will be in your behind until you finish your WIP. That's a promise!

C. Zampa said...

Well, Sarah Ballance, that foot of yours in my behind has kept me going! Duly noted!

Thanks and love for your support, my friend!

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

Beautiful, beautiful post. I know what you're going through, even though I can't imagine what Mike's journey will be. But he's young and courageous. A positive state of mind goes a long way in battling cancer. I've seen it more times than one.

I love that Mike wanted that writing room just for you. That proves how much he and your daughter love and believe in you. Make them proud, just as you're so proud of them!

Love you, lady. All of you will be in my prayers. *big hugs*

C. Zampa said...

Thank you, Tinkerbell Alexander-Griffin. For the prayers and support. Love you, too, and hugs.

Lauralyn said...

Oh, man. I am pulling for you guys! I loved my mother in law, and you wouldn't have believed that could happen if you'd known us when we met. But I cherished her and when she passed it broke my heart. I hope to someday have sons and daughters in law that I can love as much as you love yours, and I hope they're as gracious and kind as yours are to you! Family is so important. Yours sounds so beautiful!

My thoughts and prayers are with you, your daughter and your son-in-law, God Bless.

Unknown said...

What a wonderful blog. And you're all lucky. It's inspiring to hear this. Thanks for sharing, Carol

Kathy said...

What a wonderful tribute to your daughter and son-in-law, Carol. My thoughts and prayers are with all of y'all.

You area beautifully, gifted writer, and I am glad you have made a pact to finish your WIP. The world is missing out, I'm sure of it.

C. Zampa said...

Thank you, Zam.
I'm SO glad you had a relationship with your mother-in-law before she passed. Something for you to cherish. And you will have sons and daughters-in-law. And you'll love them and they'll love you!
And thank you for the support!

C. Zampa said...

Thank you, Pat, so much.

C. Zampa said...

Thank you, my dear Kathy. You've always been supportive of my writing, and I thank you for the support for my children.

Natalie Dae said...

Aww. Big hugs, my friend.

Anonymous said...

C.Z., my heart goes out to you and your beautiful son-in-law and daughter. Right now you are all walking a rocky road. Your commitment to each other rings loud in clear in your words. The love just pours from you. I'm sitting here with tears as I read this. So thank you for sharing this with me and letting me shed these tears. Feeling love through someone else's words is a beautiful thing. There will be many more kisses to come, many more trials to face, but you'll all come out of it stronger and even more loved. You're all in my prayers. Big hug for you.


C. Zampa said...

Thank you, Nat! Big hugs back to you!

C. Zampa said...

Thank you so much, Tess! Yes, many more kisses and hugs to come!

Lex Valentine said...

Supporting the ones you love in every way possible is probably the thing that matters most in this world. Sure, you can toss money at problems, it helps sometimes, but it's the emotional support and understanding of those you care about that has the most impact. It's the thing that people remember at the end of the day when they're exhausted. The quiet strength of love will always buoy you and keep your spirit afloat to fight and strive another day.

You, your daughter, and Mike are in my thoughts. I've heard many a hospital social worker say that love and support can truly make a difference when battling an illness. I believe it with all my heart.

C. Zampa said...

Thank you, Lex! I know you're right about the love and support and that much I can offer to them.
Thank you for your support!

Regina Carlysle said...

Tears are flowing here. Not only because of the battle ahead for Mike and well, all of you, but because of the obvious love you feel for this fine young man. I wish him all the best in the weeks and months ahead.

C. Zampa said...

Thank you, Regina.
Hugs to you, my friend.

Andy Eisenberg said...

Carol, I know you only through your posts and since I tend to be a lurker, you know me through a single post. I hope that you'll accept my heartfelt feelings about your post. My heart goes out to you and to your family.

What a wonderful gift to have such love and support in the type of relationship that can often be adversarial.

After having gone through cancer myself and watching my husband survive a heart attack, I'm not sure which is worse - going through something like that or watching someone you love go through it. Neither is easy, but I wanted you to know that the love and support of those close to you make ALL the difference. Your son-in-law already has that on his side.

I truly hope that everything works out well for all of you. I wish you all the best in this journey.

C. Zampa said...

Andy, thank you for stopping by.

I'm SO happy that you and your husband survived your cancer and his heart attack. And you surely do know it from both sides, don't you? Seeing those like you and him are inspiration to us.

Again, thank you for your support! Whether I know you from one post or one hundred, the support is appreciate just the same--immensely!

Sloan Parker said...

What a beautiful post, Carol. Thank you for sharing the link. Mike sounds like a wonderful person, and I'm sure the strength and support from you and your daughter will go a long way in helping him through this battle. Best wish to you all! Keep on writing!

C. Zampa said...

Sloan, thank you so much for visiting!

Mike IS a wonderful husband and son-in-law, I'm really blessed. He's got a tough road ahead, but he's strong and will get through it.

Thanks for the wishes and support!