Two Years Ago, Today Would Have Been Impossible

It was a pretty ordinary day. Everyone woke up at an ordinary time. Jim took Henry, the earliest riser, to go get coffee at our local coffee shop. We had rolling breakfasts as people got hungry. We decided to go to The Huntington to celebrate the first day of fall, in 90 degree weather, but still: girls-only tea in the Tea Room with my wonderful mother-in-law, a stroll in the gardens, a romp through the play area, a spin through the gift shop. Jack and Henry both snoozed on the way home and I ran into Trader Joes for essentials, like bread, milk, white wine, a pumpkin and a fall wreath on the way home. We were home in time for family dinner, movie night, and bedtime.


Two years ago, today would have been impossible. Frankly, I’m not even sure we could have pulled it off a year ago. In so many ways, impossible. Two years ago, we didn’t have a house that felt like a home. Our tiny place was bursting at the seams and we were lost trying to imagine a way to stay in the city and the community that we all loved. Two years ago I would have told you that a fourth baby was off the table. Two years ago I was still bitterly joking that Type 1 was our fourth child. Two years ago the very idea of tea at the Huntington with Penny would have made me feel like I might vomit. How could I? How would I guess the carbs about food I’d never seen? How would I manage the timing? What would it be to say yes repeatedly about food I hadn’t weighed, about food she hadn’t had before? What if she took a bite and decided she didn’t like it? What if?


Today we had a home to return to, an inexplicably beautiful home, where everyone has a place to call their own, in the city that we love, surrounded by people we feel privileged to know and share a neighborhood with. There is a yard and a playroom, and Jim can still be home in time for family dinner. We came home today to place I would have insisted was impossible two years ago.

Today Jack is here. Two years ago we didn’t have Jack or even the idea of a Jack, Jack who was always meant to be here to finish off our little family, Jack, who is loved and loving, who makes sense in a way I can’t fully explain.


Today I said yes. I gave nine units of insulin in five separate injections (more than 3X what she has for a normal meal), but I said yes. She put a sugar cube in her tea, and I said yes. She nibbled on cucumber sandwiches, cupcakes, and petit fours, and I said yes. We stuck our pinkies out and chatted with Grammie about kindergarten, another thing that I feared would be impossible two years ago. Her blood sugar broke 280 at one point and I still said yes, trusting the insulin to work to bring it down, and balancing her mental well being with her physical health. Two years ago a meal like this would have leveled me. I would have peeled the ham off the sandwiches to fill our plates, tried to hide the sugar cubes, and tried to bargain sugar-free lollipops from my hand bag for the tower of beautiful decadent mystery carbs placed on the table in front of us. It would have ended in tears, from me for certain, from Penny too, probably. It has taken nearly three years since diagnosis to feel this way, but, today, I said yes, and it was glorious.

Two years ago, I still thought I would live to see the first woman president and that it would be Hillary Rodham Clinton, but perhaps that is for another time and place. Can’t do that bit today. Today had so much good.

Whatever feels impossible today will shift, will change. Impossible is not permanent. Today, for me at least, the impossible became ordinary and what’s possible is extraordinary.