This is the “gateway” to Margate. I had been looking forward to paying the toll for the last several weeks. The price actually went up over the winter (now $1.75). And Jen bought the equivalent of an easy pass so I didn’t even get a chance to pay! But it still felt good when the gate went up and we started to make our way to the house.
After getting more sleep last night than I had any night in the last 4 weeks (6.5 hours thanks to a combo of Ambien and Benadryl, which I just took again), and going back to Quest Diagnostics for another blood test first thing this am (thanks much for the lift and ice coffee Tauber), the five of us were in the car and on our way. Jen drove as I am still incredibly swollen from the steroids and should not be behind the wheel after my recent gaffe with Jake in the backseat. It was a really nice ride. The boys each watched a movie and/or television and were very relaxed (except for a few minutes at the end where it was clear Jake was ready to get out of the car). I was able to catch up on some emails and calls, hang with Jen and really just relax as Jen drove. With the exception of having to walk approximately one mile from the gas station to the rest stop bathroom (with Brandon on my shoulders because he didn’t want to walk), it was one of the most peaceful rides down to the shore that I can remember.
[By the way, someone asked me if there was any rhyme or reason/pattern to these posts. It was a good question. Because sometimes I talk about my day. Other times I talk about a day(s) or experience in the past. The answer is there is no rhyme or reason. There is no pattern. Just whatever I feel to like putting down. Some days I have more to say than others. And I am sure at some point soon there will be a day where I don’t have anything to say at all or I simply fall asleep at a reasonable hour. But I have been keeping a journal (never done that in my life) and writing down all sorts of stuff. I think it is because I don’t want forget any of this. From the day I was sent to White Plains Hospital when they found a mass, to the day they tell me I am cancer free. Plus everything in between…..]
After getting settled and enjoying Dino’s for lunch (the tuna is amazing), I ended up crashing. First on a lounge chair and then on the couch on the porch. Chalk it up to the steroids wearing off. I was really disappointed and upset to have effectively missed the afternoon as the boys swam and played with water balloons for hours. And I was snappy, shouting a few different times when Jake was yelling or splashing me with water, and feeling irritable (and then guilty for saying anything at all). I even felt guilty when I was showering earlier (which takes me a long time) and noticed Jen had yet to unpack. I of course had to unpack and get settled immediately (as Jen, I am sure, got each of the boys settled, fed and sun screened). First all my clothes and bathroom products, then organizing the office that Lenny and Helene built for me (which no one else uses). I can be a selfish person sometimes. Only now when I am selfish I feel awful about it. Yet everyone is telling me to be selfish. It really is a proverbial Catch 22. I want to spend as much time as I can with Jen and the boys, yet I feel like garbage at times and really need to rest. I guess it is just something that I will need to get used to.
The reality is I am so happy to be at the shore with Jen and the boys, Lenny, Helene, Brad, Julie, Joey, Justin, Kim and Jordan. [I of course would love to be with my parents, Drew, Alexis, the girls and the rest of my family too…..]. And the good moments of today undoubtedly outweighed the bad. From our standard happy hour (even if I am not drinking); seeing my nephews; tucking Brandon into bed and getting the best hugs and kisses goodnight; watching the first half of the Cavs blow-out win with Jake and Ryan; dinner with the adults (even if we only all sat together for 45 seconds before one of the kids was crying or needed to be re-tucked in); and just sitting around and hanging out. I found myself watching everyone at times (a bit of a creep move) and thinking about how lucky I am to be part of this family. I gave hugs a few times to Jen and Helene for no reason — I just felt like giving them a hug. And I need to do it more often. It is really good to be at the shore with my family (sorry Jule, you kind of got blocked out of this picture by Jen who realized I was snapping photos….).
But the highlight of my day was a walk I did not even want to take. Lenny motivated me. After a snack of cabbage, egg plant and a little egg salad that I had to add for taste (Lenny is in the process of moving me to his diet over the course of the weekend), we were off on a 3 mile walk along the water in Longport. Notwithstanding that I could barely tie my sneakers because my feet and ankles are so swollen, it was an awesome walk. For the first time that I can remember, I wore a hat and left my cell phone behind. Lenny and I have walked many times in the past but today was different. It was more meaningful. I was more appreciative of the conversation. And I realized just what an unbelievable relationship I have with both Lenny and Helene. Not many people are this close with their in-laws.
As we talked on our walk about all sorts of life lessons, including Lenny’s path from poverty in Brooklyn to being one of the top pediatric ophthalmologists in the world, I found myself thinking about a comment that we often hear regarding women marrying men that remind them of their father. I would be truly honored if that was case. Passionate about his job and dedicated to his family, I am hopeful to follow in Lenny’s footsteps in so many ways (except of course some of his quirks, which I know Jen will want me to leave behind!). After our walk, and having heard from Lenny some of the stories that put him on the path to where he is today, he shared with me tonight — for the first time — the dedication he included in a medical text book he authored/edited in 2012. Here is the link:
I was so honored and humbled to read what Lenny wrote (and after our walk today, I now know why Henry Coleman and A. Stone Freedburg are so important). Family has obviously always been important and I am thrilled that Lenny believed that I embodied the meaning of family back in 2012. But today, after my late April wake-up call, I can say with certainty that I know the meaning of family; and family is something I will never take for granted. I can’t wait to hang out with everyone tomorrow!
Lenny, I love you man. Looking forward to walking tomorrow…..