I received a call from my brother on Sunday afternoon. He asked if I would watch the kids while they swam in the pool. He and my sister in law were busy getting work done so I agreed.
Earlier, I had gone to church and afterwards I spent an hour with my daughter and my new grandson, Oliver. I was in 7th Heaven. I can’t describe the love that fills my heart when Baby Oliver looks at me with his beautiful eyes. He’s an angel. I’m so blessed to be a nana and I’m so blessed to be an aunt too. I love it.
I arrived at my brothers with a book in hand wearing my swimming suit so I could catch up on some reading and some sun while I allowed my niece and nephew to play in the pool. I got myself settled and sat down on a chair by the pool as I watched my niece and nephew do cannonballs.
Chemo has had quite an effect on my body including my finger nails. I have struggled with my nails chipping and even lifting off the nail beds. I try my best not to soak my hands and haven’t had a manicure in many, many months. The last time I spent time with my niece and nephew at the pool, I jokingly told them Aunt Velma couldn’t get in the pool because I was allergic to the water. This day was no different. Mia and Lane, my niece and nephew, were begging me to jump in the pool with them. I finally explained that I was unable to because the water wasn’t good for my nails. They were curious so I showed them my nails. They asked why my nails looked like that. I explained that this was a result from all of the medicine I had to take when I was sick with cancer.
Over the past year and a half as I fought cancer, I travelled back and forth from San Francisco to Washington to see my family in between treatments. The kids saw the changes in me as I lost my hair, struggled to walk and in short was very sick. We briefly talked about my illness but never in detail. Sunday, was a little different. The kids were very inquisitive. Mia asked “Aunt Velma…do you still have cancer?” I replied “I don’t think so. I’m trying to get better. I’m taking all of the medicine I have to and I do things like staying out of the pool so I won’t be sick anymore.” Mia said “Good!” She then asked the question that took me by surprise. She looked at me with her big blue eyes and asked “Aunt Velma….are you going to die?” I was taken aback. I wasn’t prepared for a question like that. My heart stopped. I had butterflies in my stomach. The reality that I could actually die was frightening. I had no idea what to say so I said “I hope not honey girl.” Mia was content and said “good! Cancer is so disgusting!” I said “I love you honey girl…I love you too Lane.” They both replied “I love you Aunt Velma”. I felt a little teary eyed.
I found myself pondering my conversation with Mia and Lane on the way to work. The reality that my cancer may return and I may not be so lucky next time really bothered me. I thought about Baby Oliver and of course Mia, Lane and even Baby Kai. I couldn’t imagine never seeing them again. I have a love for all of them that fills my heart and at times, it’s difficult to breathe. They make me feel so happy.
As I drove on the interstate heading to work, I was thinking about the kids and “Silly Love Songs” came on the radio. It reminded me of how much love I have all around me. Often times since my return to Washington I have felt lonely and missed the companionship of a boyfriend. I have even felt at times that I will never find love again but I realized who needs the love of some guy when I have the love of the most wonderful grandson, niece and nephews in the world. I’m even luckier than I ever have imagined. So like the song I dedicate this blog and this song to my sweet Baby Oliver, my beautiful niece Mia and my two wonderful nephews, Lane and Baby Kai. Like the song I LOVE YOU! I’m shouting it to you from the rooftops and I’m singing along to this wonderful song. And guess what? As it turns out, I don’t think love is silly at all!!