Sunday October 9, 2011

It has been an emotional roller coaster of a week.  We knew we were headed for some delicate territory with the Brains Together For A Cure walk coinciding with hockey tryouts.  Hopes and fears and wants and needs.  It's hard to sort them all out sometimes ...

The walk was an amazing, emotional experience.  So many people, so many families, dealing with this terrible diagnosis.  Shannon was well represented by 80 or so of us wearing our lime green Shannon the Cannon t-shirts.  (I'll share a group photo when I get a hold of it.) The weather was beautiful - almost hot - for a fall day.  Seeing the family and friends who gathered to support us and our kid: Dan's customer and his family coming from hours away, a high school friend, Shannon's former teacher, RAC tennis ladies and their families, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters... I don't have the words to describe it.  And then you look next to you and there's another family doing the same thing.  And you exchange a knowing glance with them, and all of a sudden you are bonded together.

Shannon came to the walk directly from hockey tryouts, and she smiled and socialized with the people who wanted a minute of her time.  She met some people who knew her story and she handled herself with grace.  She introduced one of her doctors to the O'Hara clan.  She met other brain tumor patients.  At the end of the event, Shannon made a donation from her fund to the board members.  So proud of her.  Later Saturday, Erin thanked us for organizing such a fun event for our friends and family.  So proud of her, too.

Today brought us to the final day of hockey tryouts. (Thank goodness!)  So much pressure and anxiety for Shannon and all her hockey buddies.  Shannon's goal since hockey season ended last year was to be good enough to make the 12A team this year, but it became apparent that this wasn't realistic.  Whether she could have gotten there had she not gotten sick, who knows.  Her sadness about that was hard to see.  But, the kid loves hockey and loves being on a team and as it turns out, some of her buddies ended up right with her on the 12B team.  So, the text messages were flying and they were all pumping each other up about what a fun team they are going to have this year.  By the time we tucked Shannon into bed tonight, the sadness had been replaced with excitement that was making it hard for her to fall asleep!

Man, have we covered some ground athletically in the last 8 days or so: we finished two soccer seasons, we survived basketball and hockey tryouts, and in the end, our girls are truly right where they want to be heading into their winter sports seasons - on a team with their friends. Time for a deep breath.

All this activity, all these emotions, yet one of the best parts of the weekend was this morning when we just hung around as a family, doing the necessary homework, piano, french horn, laundry, etc.  The girls found time to just be pals.  Playing in the backyard with the dog as we enjoyed our morning coffee.  One of those moments where I forgot, just for a second ...