Thursday, March 17, 2011

Grab a hankie

Had lunch today with my friend Ed. He's the one with newly-wed daughter, now 25, who has been battling leukemia for the last six months or so. He talked about how brave she's been throughout this ordeal, but that every now and again it wears her out and she gets sad, weepy and childlike.

Which is why, every time Ed and his wife go to New York to stay their daughter as she recovers from chemo, they remember to pack "Pink Baby."

Their little girl was never much for words -- her gifts ran to music and art. So they weren't surprised by the unimaginative name she gave her favorite baby doll: "Pink Baby" was so named for her pink dress and bonnet. Back when she was in preschool she couldn't sleep if Pink Baby wasn't beside her.

So now, when Mama and Daddy pick her up at the hospital after another round of chemo and tuck her into bed with Pink Baby beside her, she knows it's OK to give in to the weakness, pain and fear and let the love and comfort she gets from her parents and her baby doll work like a balm.

I wish Ed's life was going more smoothly. Three years ago, he survived a bout with cancer himself. Shortly thereafter, he lost his job. The strain of their daughter's illness, his unemployment, her being the sole breadwinner and the cost of flying to and from New York every month has caused a certain strain between them. I suppose that's to be expected -- they are each only human and doing the best they can under horrible circumstances. But still, it makes me sad. And I'm so fucking sick of money worries -- my own and everyone else's!

Thank goodness for the bizarre, wacky news story that this company finds itself at the center of. If a public display of kink can't distract you from the problems at hand, nothing can!

They speak Spanish in Costa Rica

My best friend is off to Costa Rica on Thursday morning. He, his wife and his younger daughter are off to meet up with his older girl, who has been there a week already with a group from school. (She's an exceptional young lady, very serious about community service. So far this week, she and her classmates have helped out at an organic paper factory and a tree conservancy, visited a bat refuge, hiked a lot and seen tarantulas and wild boar.) As a family they will visit a volcano and the rainforest and then soak up the sun for a few days at a beach resort.

These are memories they'll cherish forever and I'm happy for him. I miss him, too.

Between his daughter's school trip and this week en famille, March is a very expensive month for them. Plus they're visiting Martha's Vineyard this June with friends they met through their daughters' private school. This couple -- a hedge fund manager and a lawyer -- are wealthy and, it seems, can afford to travel often. The two families went skiing together in Beaver Creek over Thanksgiving and spent a long Presidents' Day weekend in Crested Butte.

My friend doesn't make much more than I do and his wife is a stay-at-home mom. In order to afford all this, they are going to have to pass on Jazz Fest in New Orleans, an annual trip with his sister, her husband and their kids. It's too bad, but we all have to admit that sometimes we can't afford to live the way our friends do (witness me and Barb last week).