Friday, December 9, 2016. On our way in for chemo today, I was able to attend my oldest son’s (Jake) parent/teacher conference. I rarely miss a game for my kids (even during the last 8 months), coach baseball for the oldest boys every season (except this past one), always make it to “back to school night,” and attend almost all school events. But for some reason I cannot recall attending a parent/teacher conference. It is usually hard to schedule these at a convenient time (like 8:15 am today when we were lucky enough to have my mother-in-law watching the kids and could switch to an early meeting because we had chemo (a decent excuse)). Usually I just tell Jen to schedule these conferences when it works for her around school schedules, car pools and everything else she does for the boys. These conferences inevitably get scheduled at the worst possible time (i.e., 12:30 pm when the kids have half days of school) and getting back from the city in the middle of the day (probably during a meeting) or otherwise being on the road, makes it hard to get there. Jen always (and immediately) gives me the detailed download because she knows how much I want to be there, but understands that she has to schedule these at a time that just won’t work for both of us. But after sitting in the conference today, I really do not ever want to miss one of these again.
I realized today (holding back a tear at the conference table with Jen and Jake’s teacher), that this conference was more important than any game or school play. Sure Jake and Ryan think they are going to play in the NBA; and I have no intention of telling any of my kids they should do anything other than follow their dreams. But raising a good and well-rounded person — who is dedicated to school and gives his all in the classroom AND in everything else that is important to him (like sports), is what it is all about. And being able to listen to the teacher talk about my son today, reviewing his work, hearing about his progress and understanding from her what a dedicated student he is, made me way more proud than any basket or goal (even though I am intense and undoubtedly loud at every game!).
Ryan’s conference is next week and my schedule that day is wide open. And while I am heading back to work in a few weeks more excited and hungrier than ever — fully intending to be running as hard as I can as soon as I am truly able — I am definitely going to run smarter. I am going to schedule things together with Jen and we will figure out, with both of our schedules, what makes most sense for both of us. Yet another silver lining in a pretty wild odyssey that started just 7.5 months ago…
Want to be inspired?
Last night, James Connor — a running back at the University of Pittsburgh — was a recipient of one of the College Football Awards handed out each year to the most outstanding college football players. James had a great season. He ran the ball 208 times for 1,060 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns. He also had 20 receptions for 299 yards and 4 more touchdowns. A remarkable season for any college running back.
Even more remarkable for a guy that had only 8 rushes for 77 yards (and 2 touchdowns) in 2015. And heading into the 2015 season, after rushing for 1,765 yards and 26 touchdowns in his 2014 sophomore campaign, the sky was the limit. But this is why James was awarded the Disney Spirit Award, given to the most inspirational player or team. 2015 was a “lost” season. James was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma around Thanksgiving of last year. As you will read in the Washington Post article (link here ) and hear about in the video clips from last night’s award presentation, cancer and chemotherapy did not get in his way. By February he was back at practice (with a mask to protect his weakened immune system and unable to participate in tackling drills because of a port in his chest inserted for chemo treatments). James was cancer free in May; the rest, well, it is inspiring to say the least.
Pitt plays Northwestern in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on December 28th at Yankee Stadium. Not sure it is a good idea for me to sit outside at Yankee stadium on December 28th (just one week after the eight month protocol is officially done), but I am definitely thinking about it. Not a Pitt or Northwestern fan (Pitt crushed Syracuse this year). Like Holly Rowe, however, I am a James Connor fan. And now that this is finished, I am heading down to the basement to walk on the treadmill. [Fourth day in a row of chemo tomorrow and then a break until next Wednesday. Four game series next week (Weds through Sat) followed by one last day of treatment on Wednesday 12/21. We will deal with the maintenance program in 2017, 2018 and 2019 — just part of the drill.]