Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lunch Time

One of my favorite frequent mom and daughter times with Luka is Lunch Time.  Since she was able to sit in a high chair, I have looked strangely forward to the time of day when I can cut things into little squares.  In high chair times, it was cheese, apples, avocados, toast, and bananas.  Now it's mainly peanut butter and jelly, avocados and pears.  Whatever it is, cutting things into little squares gives me some kind of joy, possibly associated with the control over the knife and the familiarity of a daily (or now mostly weekly since Luka eats lunch at kindergarten) routine.  Arranging the little squares on a butterfly plate with applesauce and a green Ikea spoon is fun.

At Lunch Time, Luka sits at the kitchen table (formerly in her highchair) and sings, talks, draws pictures or tests the range of her octave scale by making periodic highpitched squeaking noises.  Our conversations have grown from "ba ba ba" - "yeah, Luka, ba ba ba," to "ball" - "yeah, Luka, ball," to "I'm not going to take a nap, Mama," - "Well, actually, I think that you are going to take a nap, Luka," to issues involving school, friendships, and things like responsibility (ie. why it is important to hang up your coat and not throw it on the floor and kick it under the couch when you walk in the door).

Today, we talked about teeth and baths.  Luka sat at the kitchen table singing a song she must have learned at school about the "circle of life."  She sat with her head cocked to the left side, her feet tucked behind her, singing and drawing a new backdrop for her fish bowl.  I set down her lunch and was washing some dishes at the sink when she asked me, "Mom, what does it feel like to get all big teeth?"  We talked about it for awhile and then she said, "Are they always crooked?"  We talked about that and I told her that my teeth had been crooked so I had braces.  She asked me who puts the braces on and I told her a special dentist called an orthodontist.  She said, "Why don't they call it a Brace-odontist?"

Then I washed some more dishes and she said, "Mom, what would happen if you took a bath for two weeks?"

I started my second round of chemOtherapy about a week ago and was getting through that alright.  Then they hit me with some radiAtion.  They put 4 little permanent tattoos of ink dots on the skin of my chest and use the dots to line up the external beam radiAtion therapy.  For about 10 minutes a day for 10 days, I lie on this little white bed with my arms up over my head, while a machine in the shape of a circle rotates around me and shoots radiAtion at the "large mass" in my left lung from 3 different angles.   I am happy this is being done.  I visualize the zapping of the tumor, as it is easy to picture the radiation beams in the shape of  the little bullet things in Atari's Asteroids.  Who says playing tons of video games as a child can't be useful as an adult?  Clear visualization is my friend.  I guess RadiAtion is too.

Here is the thing I don't like about my friend RadiAtion:  it makes me feel so tired that sometimes when I'm standing in line at the store or picking up Luka from school, I feel like I could very easily slump down to the linoleum floor and be in a REM sleep mode before anyone even noticed I wasn't standing anymore.

This means that sometimes I have to take naps in the afternoons.  And miss my Lunch Time with Luka.

I know it will only be for a short while that I will have to endure the side effects of this treatment, and that because I Truly Believe my treatment plan will work - in the long run missing a few lunches won't be a big deal.  I know also that I am lucky because I have a flexible work schedule and plenty of help from my community and family.  But it still pisses me off when I have to miss Lunch Time with my girl Luka.  I just want to cut stuff into squares and talk about teeth.


  1. Julie, this post was beautiful.

  2. I think the best conversations are generated by the lunch mode as well. Just a short story comes to mind... I'll tell you about it sometime.
    I think of the radiAtion as filled with healing energy as well as what it actually is doing. The image is destroy and heal, destroy and heal. Being tired can be freaky sometimes, especially when driving. Unfortunately, I have no other excuse, but the time of day.
    Destroy and heal, destroy and heal...
    Luka sure is insightful isn't she?

    I love you, Jules Nanc