Saturday, July 23, 2011

best birthday present ever

                                                               zach's first christmas 
    self-portrait at the casino bar in vegas

i remember the morning of my 15th birthday very clearly. i was at my best friend kristina's house and my mom called. she told me that a package had arrived in hoquiam for my birthday. for about two seconds, i thought "could it be clothes? new music?" and then it clicked - she was telling me that my nephew had made his way into the world (very creative mom!). my mom and i drove to hoquiam that day to see him. i remember walking in to the hospital room and meeting him for the first time. as i held him, he made me something i had never been before - an aunt.

when zach was just a baby and i was still in high school and had the summer off (i so miss those days) i got to babysit him for a week or two at a time. i loved that time because it was just me and him hanging out. i haven't had that much one on one time with him since. watching him grow through the years has been such a fun ride - from the days when he was little and we would all go trick or treating, watching him play sports through the years, being there for the milestones like graduation, etc. he is also one of my favorite people to laugh with, he has had some of the best one-liners i can remember, and many of the laughs at my parents house have been prompted by something he said.

so, as we celebrated our 36th and 21st birthdays this year, it was a major milestone year for him. we went to vegas with all of our immediate family which was so fun because it is few and far between that we are all together for a vacation. i had plans to raise it up with him on our birthday because it wasn't a shot day for me. but, life had other plans. i woke up on our birthday with some of the worst muscle/joint aches in my legs that i have had in the last year. it was so painful to walk so it was a long day physically and emotionally. i made it out to dinner, but after dinner i had to head for my room so i could put my legs up. the following day my legs felt a little better but i had to do my shot that night, and there is no rallying for me on shot nights. i was so frustrated and angry that i felt so crappy on our birthday, so i held out hope that our last night i would feel good enough to stay out. i guess the treatments gods finally decided to cut me a break for a small period of time because on our last day my legs didn't hurt too bad, and i was not nauseas to the point of being completely miserable.

so, i got to go to the casino bar with zach, play some video poker next to him, and buy him some drinks. i even had one myself which doesn't happen too much these days. as we were sitting there, it seemed like it was just yesterday that i got that call from my mom. now i was sitting next to my 21 year old nephew who could play the slots while having a drink, where does the time go? by the time we called it a night, it was after midnight. i can't remember the last time i was up that late (since starting treatment, malena and i basically have the same bed time), but it was so worth it. i look forward to more late nights of hanging out if he doesn't mind his aunt alli tagging along;)

zach has always been - and will always be - the best birthday present i have ever got.

while on the topic of vegas, there is a blog called "william fighting cancer" ( that i have become attached to. though our stories are not the same, he is committed to fighting melanoma and kicking its you-know-what. i just got an update from his blog called "odds". i connected with his words, and especially the last paragraph. if you read it, i am sure you will understand why.

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