Avalon's Army of Angels
|September 5, 2008
KNK Childhood Cancer Awareness Rally
at the Statehouse
Today was a Childhood Cancer Awareness Rally at the Ohio Statehouse. The event is
sponsored by Kids N Kamp, the group we just went to camp with.
I had RSVP'ed to attend the event, so I felt compelled to go. But I'd be a continental-sized
liar if I didn't admit there wasn't one hair on my chinny chin chin that was interested in leaving
the house today. The cold I've alluded to for several weeks, has morphed into a righteous
sinus infection. I finally caved and went to a CVS Minute Clinic a few days ago so I could
start on drugs. Two weeks of viral, and I finally managed to morph a simple cold into a
bacterial infection. To say I feel like so much elephant doo doo, would be an
understatement. I feel like the ground underneath the doo doo, after the doo doo has been
smashed into it....
Cleaning up, packing up, and driving downtown, in pouring rain - was a simply monumental
task today. But we did it. "My" kids are that important to me. I owe the other families my
attendance. Its my universal duty as a cancer mom.
I should have known better, though. Long speeches, and deeply meaningful gestures are
not exactly Anam-friendly. Picklehead pickled it, alright. I spent the vast majority of the
ceremony threatening his life in a side hallway. While the high ceilings and vast marble of
the Statehouse are magnificent, they're also acoustically astonishing. Every squeal, yell,
complaint, and cry echoed...like we'd imported our own sound system. I tried selling Anam to
a congressional representative who wandered by...but he wasn't interested.
I think Aurora had an even worse time. She had to keep running out to put money in the
parking meter. We had thought ourselves lucky to find one so close, only to realize it was a
30 minute meter. Since my van doesn't fit in the Statehouse garage, we normally have to
walk several blocks from the nearest flat lot. Aurora volunteered to be the meter maid, so we
didn't have to schlepp so far. I'm reasonably sure she regretted it by trip #3.
The event is a powerful one, as the formal speech portion of it always ends with parents
who've lost children going to the front of the room to stand while a hauntingly poignant song
is sung in honor of their children. They stand hand in hand, arm in arm, united in their
terrible losses, and representing the true horror that pediatric cancer has to offer. Its them I
came for, I owe my attendance to the memory of their children. They can't stand up for
themselves, and their parents shouldn't have to stand alone....
I won't go into the statistics here, I'll save those for another day. All that's important to
remember today, is that statistics don't matter. To the families in the fight, statistics mean
some of us will keep our children, and some of us won't. We have no control over which side
we end up on, and its maddening. This terrible disease devastates our world, and then
marches on to tear apart someone else's dreams. Statistics are great for people not in the
fight, for those of us here - they're meaningless. We deal with one truth, at any moment it
can be us standing up there. On any given day, its our world that can come tumbling
down...when you live with that every day, numbers are the last thing you want to discuss....
After the formal speeches and memory ceremony, there is a small luncheon hosted for those
in attendance. Anam was thrilled to partake in the lunch portion of the day, so we thought
we'd be able to participate in that in relative peace. We did, but there was a price...
I'll leave you with the following thought. When your ornery, loud, often-terribly-difficult
toddler is suddenly quiet, you should quite possibly pay attention to him. You shouldn't
"assume" he's munching his chicken, or enjoying his fruit salad. You shouldn't enjoy his
silence and continue your conversation in ignorant bliss. And you absolutely never, EVER,
should be so lackadaisical as to position a solid chocolate treat on your plate within arm's
reach of the son you're not actively watching. If you do....you'll quite possibly regret it.
|And BTW, we took the tags off the shirt when we dressed him this morning.......