When You Wish Upon a Star – My Magical Month of May!

May was a BUSY month! So many amazing milestones were reached I’m still not sure if they all happened. Every day I look at all the pictures taken over the last month & I thank the universe for allowing me to be a small part of it all.

It all began with double graduations from the University of Rochester for my son & his fiancee. We weren’t sure what would happen thanks to Covid-19 until a few months prior. It wasn’t exactly ideal but what matters was I saw them both in their caps & gowns, heard their names called & what every parent dreams of; watching them both walk the stage to receive their degrees. Well, degree covers. There were five ceremonies in all spread out over three days. The big commencement & two-degree major ceremonies for each of them. All streamed live for parents and loved ones to see.

The Graduates

Immediately after the pomp and circumstances, we switched into wedding mode. They chose to get married in my daughter-in-law’s home state of Oregon. I don’t know how they planned the wedding while attending their last year of college AND working. All the while not even sure it would all happen due to all the restrictions and rules for the pandemic. If it weren’t for her parents, it would have been a nightmare for both of them. When it comes to inlaws, Adam won the lottery.

Rehearsal Dinner

They had a beautiful day weather-wise. Their ceremony and reception took place outside. Making for an ideal setting. Clear blue skies and warm temperatures all day. Actually, it was damn hot.

If it had been a contest of who cried more, Adam won. Hands down. It filled my heart to see all the emotions he was experiencing. There was no doubt just how much in love he is. The bride was stunning. She glowed with happiness as her father walked her down the aisle.

After the ceremony, there was a lovely dinner, toasts to the bride and groom, something called The Shoe Game that involved all the wedding guests and llamas. Yes, llamas.

Llamas Anyone?

When I returned home, I was given the all-important task of babysitting their five cats and dog. That week I was literally a cat herder. No easy task I might add.

The newlywed’s honeymooned at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. They had a fun and relaxing time. I won’t lie, I was a lil bit jealous.

Epcot

When I began this blog, my biggest goal was to see Adam graduate from high school. If someone had told me I’d be there for that and so much more milestones in his life I would have laughed and laughed. I never let myself hope for anything beyond the one goal I would set for myself. I was too afraid of hoping for things I’d never be part of. Cancer forces one to not look too far into the future no matter how optimistic. I don’t say this to put anyone off or to be a downer. I say it because of how grateful I am. I must acknowledge how incredibly lucky and appreciative I am.

Which brings me to share, with gratitude this last bit…

Just in case anyone doesn’t understand the photo above, these should do the trick!

I’m going to be a *gulp* GRANDMOTHER!!

Truth be told, I’ve known for a while. This has been the HARDEST secret to keep. Those that know me, understand how physically painful this was. I was SWORN to secrecy until other family members were told. Nothing is worse than finding out about important life events than on the internet. So, how long have I known, you ask?

I have a magical new goal!

Let’s Talk About Bucket Lists

Bucket lists.

They’ve always made me itch. From time to time I’ll hear friends talk about making their list or they will post pictures with a lead in of “Well, I checked this (whatever ‘this’ is) off my bucket list.” I immediately think about what happens when they finish the list or worse; they don’t get to finish because their health suddenly takes “that turn” no one wants to happen. Because of that, I’ve associated bucket lists with bad karma and never really put one together. I’m already living on borrowed time, why would I wag my finger in the face of fate just begging to get a clap back?? Ask anyone, I can be a pain in the ass with the whole – “no one’s going to tell me what to do, if I want to do it, it’s happening” but this is a whole other animal and I don’t think I’m ready to poke that chupacabra. Know what I mean?

All that being said. I still don’t have a formal list. Not even a Post-It note. However….

There has always been one thing, just one, that I’ve wanted to do. Even before cancer became my dark passenger. I had even kind of resigned myself to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen.

Then . (holy shit) . It . Happened.

What I consider a once in a lifetime opportunity landed in my lap to go home. Well, not where I grew up, but close enough. San Francisco, California. This was huge. I haven’t been home in 25 yrs. I truly believed I was going to die from this hideous disease without ever going back. The ironic thing is the way it worked out, I missed my 30th High School class reunion by four days but that was OK. Totally, absolutely, 100% fine.

This past Wednesday, two days ago Wednesday, I got on a plane and flew west. It was surreal. It really didn’t hit me until the plane touched down. As the plane taxied in and as I looked out the window, the familiar mountains in the horizon was like a hug to my senses. I cried. I cried the same way I am now typing this on the plane back (looking absolutely ridiculous to anyone that may catch a glimpse of me. I need a damn Xanax)

Oh those mountains

San Francisco Neighborhoods are Awesome

I only told one person I was coming home. There was only one person that was important enough to occupy the precious time I had. I only wish it could have been two. Both classmates. One from elementary/junior high and the other from high school. Unfortunately, Laurie, my dear friend from elementary school tragically died in 2011. That will always be my biggest regret, not coming back in time to see her.

I was able to give the biggest hug to Melanie. She’s no slouch giving hugs back! We had the best time catching up and hanging out. It was like I’d never left. Kind of. We ended up at at a casual neighborhood pub that made the evening even more memorable. We had no idea we walked in on trivia night. We opted out which lent to even better comedy. (We were compared to the old men on the muppet show but in a good way – I swear).

Our “30th Reunion”

It was the most amazing trip. I cannot emphasize this enough. This was everything.

I still don’t have a bucket list. After this week, I honestly don’t need one because I completed it without ever needing to make one.

To those that made this all possible (the whole thing), I could spend the rest of my days thanking you and it truly wouldn’t be enough.

Seriously, Thank you.

My Bucket List Got a Bit Smaller

We started planning our February vacation many months ago. We knew we wanted to go to Florida but not sure where. Finally, we settled on Universal Studios and Cape Canaveral. The boys are too old for Disney and this seemed like a great alternative.

Thanks to my amazing friend Nancy Beth, she put me in touch with an organization that provides adults with a terminal illness and children 16 and younger tickets to Universal Studios! I immediately got in touch with Compassion Partners and spoke with a lovely woman who told me what to do. Later that day, I had a confirmation letter from her outlining that 10 tickets (2 days) to Universal along with a Gold Pass AND 5 tickets to Sea World were on hold for us!! Little did I know, the Gold ticket allowed all of us to get escorted to the front of every line of every ride at Universal!! No matter how long the wait was…we went to the front of the line. What a time saver and boy did it help me! The boys felt like VIP’s!

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Two weeks before our trip, I found that Sea World offers ‘Experiences’. A behind the scenes if you will. I about lost my mind when I saw they had a penguin experience! I LOVE penguins. I collect them and I even have a penguin tattoo. I booked it for my son and myself. The others didn’t care for doing it.

It was amazing!! We were able to go back to where the penguin habitat was and the tour guide brought out three penguins! Leon was first. Leon is a King penguin and the largest one. He was so sweet but all he cared about was getting out and wandering thru the offices.

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Sherlock was next. Sherlock is a Rockhopper. He was very friendly and very curious. He had fun posing for pictures. While Sherlock was posing for photo ops, Leon was walking around and hanging out by the door hoping it would open.

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The last little guy was a baby Gentu. He was losing his baby fluff to make room for his feathers. This penguin wasn’t named yet because they weren’t sure if he was male or female. I didn’t care. I just knew I was in penguin heaven! The best part was that I have this memory with my Son and he has it with me. My first bucket list item has been accomplished!

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Our last day was spent at Cape Canaveral. It was a chilly day for Orlando but we didn’t care. We went on a 2 1/2 hour bus tour and saw a lot of locations where NASA would launch from. Its very impressive. If you haven’t gone I highly recommend it.

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Today would mark another bucket list item as complete. I was going to meet Nancy Beth!! She so nicely took a half day to come meet us and hang out. I was so excited to finally meet her. We have been talking every week since the holiday’s. She’s so upbeat and has a sense of humor I appreciate.  Sure enough she did not disappoint. We had lunch together and went to a few more exhibits. In true dork form, I managed to get my credit card stuck in such a way that I almost wasn’t getting it back, but thankfully I redeemed myself.

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We will forever be bonded by our matching pink NASA sweatshirts!

I had a fantastic week and I can confidently say everyone else did too. The only thing that would have made it better is if I could have brought Bella with us. She was on my mind the whole week. I did call twice to check on her. She was acting OK but she was having some intestinal issues (probably nerves) and needed probotics. I cannot wait to get my princess and love her and snuggle her.

12 more hours until we are home.