Thursday, April 21, 2011


During our Passover Seder, we talked a lot about how this time of the year is one of transition. In the history of the holiday itself, we celebrate the transition from slavery to freedom, from being strangers to being at home, and being delivered from oppression. In the current practices, we discuss the transition of the season (I've heard that it is springtime in western PA but I haven't seen so much evidence), the transition from our normal diets to the Passover one, and even the transition between the parts of the seder.

I found the process of preparing the kitchen and food supply to be somewhat therapeutic, because I was thinking about it ahead of time and not buying things that we might not use and would just have to get rid of, not to mention that I like to buy fresher things anyway. But then once it came time to get rid of things, I was glad to give our food to wonderful people in our lives who do not celebrate Passover and to make a trip to the food bank with a laundry basket full of non-perishables. Not that it's stuff we wouldn't use, but really, we can easily just get more.

It's also the time of year that I swap out the clothing, packing up the winter wear and bringing out the spring and summer things. Mostly because I don't want to have to do it multiple times. It was a wonderful feeling that The Boy was in need of clothing because he had grown this year. Meatball was in need of clothing too--whatever The Boy was just wearing goes directly to him. Grandma was, of course, happy to shop for The Boy and get him new things to wear.

The Boy loves sandals and shorts; unfortunately, we're not really there yet in terms of the local climate.

Thinking about transitions and The Boy, Passover has marked points of transition for him as well. In 2008, he was an infant. A healthy infant. And it wasn't long before he was to become the cutest little oncology patient, and no longer a healthy infant. In 2009, he was still on treatment, and we had begun his relapse protocol. He was really sailing through it, and having very few issues with it. He had had radiation as well, which was not too taxing (except for the REALLY early morning wakeups). Right after Passover 2009, we began a stretch of time in which he was in the hospital more often than out of the hospital, from the end of April until the middle of August (including, naturally, the time of Meatball's birth).

The following year, in 2010, we attended the Passover Seders in Harrisburg and raced home to get him to chemo, only to learn, once we were there, that he was no longer going to be on treatment. Our feelings about that were very mixed--they took him off chemo because of the danger to his remaining kidney. So yes, we'd be getting a reprieve from the toxic chemicals, but those were the same toxic chemical that were keeping the cancer away. Also, if we were stopping treatment, were we trading one problem for another by counting down the days until kidney failure?

This year, from last Passover to this one, has been the most "normal" one we've had. In many respects, The Boy is a typical preschooler. There are plenty of issues through which we still work, but by comparison, they are minor. And most of them are variations of typical little kid problems, possibly magnified by his medical history, but some are just the 3-year-old behaviors that everyone knows and runs away from loves.

The Boy was wonderful, with the exception of a few tantrum-y episodes that he saves for us. Like during the first Seder when he decided that he needed to lock himself in the bathroom in order to go. But other than that, he was fabulous. He even "performed" for the family during the second seder, singing some of the Passover songs (working for treats, of course).

Work beckons...

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