20 years ago, Maureen and I drove from Chicago to Austin as we opened a new chapter in our lives together. We made the trek to Austin driving through the mid-section of the US in our beloved little Acura Integra. It was a 2 door hatchback, and it was the first car we bought together. Most of our stuff was in a moving truck, but we filled up our Integra and packed it pretty tightly, leaving a small spot in the middle of the folded down back seats for our beloved Malibu, our Keeshound, our first dog. As we tell our kids, Malibu was our “first child!”
Today, we are in seats 34A, 34B, 35A, 35B and 36A on our way back up to Chicago for a family weekend. We wouldn’t fit in our Acura Integra anymore, not with the blessings of our children, Taylor, Kyla and Katelyn, now in our lives. We are not only going to Chicago for some fun together, but we are also making the trek, because Maureen and I have some stories we want to tell our kids together. Chicago is where Maureen and I met; where Maureen and I were married; where Maureen and I had our first apartment; where Maureen and I had our first house. This is our origin story. This is the story of how the seeds of our love were planted, nourished and have now blossomed into our cherished family of five.
For those that have read a few of our posts here or at CaringBridge or Rallyhood already, you know that Maureen and I are claiming our story in the midst of her increasingly challenging battle with breast cancer. This is our story, not cancer’s. As we determine the best way to turn off the cancer cells that have chosen to go haywire in her body, there is always the other side of the story. Without the love we share, without the specific combination of three very unique sperm and egg cells at three specific moments in time, Taylor, who is sitting in 36A, Katelyn, who is sitting in 35A next to Maureen, and Kyla, who is sitting in 34A next to me wouldn’t be here.
Think about that for a minute. Think about the unbelievable power and magic of life. Think about all the loved ones in your own life and how incredibly unique and precious they are. As we work to turn off the cancer cells in Maureen’s body, cancer can never take away our love for each other. Cancer can not take away our love for our children. The same strands of DNA that we are searching for places to attack with new treatments for Maureen are the same strands of DNA that God chose to combine with mine to create the lives of our children with whom we now travel.
For the next few days, the five of us will create a whole new set of stories together in Chicago… we will share them here with you as they unfold. This is our story, not cancer’s.