Have You Hugged Your Boobies Today?

Posted: October 16th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Cancer, Extended Family, Friends and Strangers | 1 Comment »

A couple weeks ago I was reading an old high school friend’s blog and found out it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Thankfully, breast cancer hadn’t been on my mind at all.

But last year–Breast Cancer Awareness Month of 2007–that wasn’t at all the case. I mean, I didn’t even know it was a special month then, but I was all too aware of the Big C because one of Mark’s aunts, and one of our favorite humans ever–the woman who performed our wedding ceremony, in fact–had just been diagnosed.

If it’s a sickening stressful scary feeling being the friend of someone who’s going through what she did, I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be the protagonist. I mean, as fans of Mark’s aunt, we are just a small part of a large large group. So when she was sorting out and sifting though all the early information and emotions, she luckily had a big community to tap into for support, resources, good doctors’ names. And of course the insights of other women who had gone through it too.

Again, I have no idea what it’s like, but I can only imagine that it’s like walking into a room of all these women–maybe some close friends, some social friends, former co-workers or clients, and even a big klatch of your mother’s friends from Florida. All these woman who  you’ve probably known have had breast cancer, but of course now that it’s struck you, you can’t help but see them in a different light. Maybe you’re greedy to get information from them, or desperate for their empathy or compassion, and you definitely want to hear all the really positive success stories. (Woot to all those Floridians still waking up every morning, greeting the day, and hitting the golf course!)

Or maybe you don’t even want to go there and reach out to them at all, even though they’re smiling up at you and offering their support in that amazing way that women seem to be able to even if you don’t know them at all but really just need someone to help you because you’re grocery bag is slipping and you’re holding onto your crying baby and your toddler has decided to run into the busy parking lot.

You know. That amazing way that women who don’t even know each other can be.

But anyway, back to this room. This room that I imagine is filled with all these women who have some life connection, and now another link through breast cancer. As much as their smiling faces and encouragement may bring you comfort, at least in those early days I can imagine that there’s that moment as you walk to the center of the room that you see a chair and it’s got your name on it. That must be the big sucker punch.

Everyone knows someone who’s had breast cancer, but then what do you do when it’s suddenly you? I don’t care how friendly or welcoming the members are. Who wants to be part of that club?

Well, once you get through all the surgeries and treatments and whatever other interventions might take place, God willing you graduate to the elite gold club. The survivors’ club. And blessedly so far everyone I know who has wrangled with breast cancer has managed to do that.

Because of course there are many other women who I know who I haven’t mentioned yet. Women who would be in my imaginary support room, as it were. Once Mark’s Aunt started to move into the “looks like it’ll be okay” realm towards the end of last year, my womb-to-tomb friend Amelia’s kid sister was diagnosed. I mean, in my mind she’s still 11 years old and poking around the outskirts of where Amelia and I are hanging out, wanting to get in on the older girl action. But really she’s in her mid-30s now. Older than my mind can grock, but still way too young to have an oncologist.

And one of the first people to spring to my mind whenever I see a pink ribbon is my beloved sister-cousin, Nancy. I’m not exactly sure when it was that she passed the special five year mark to being free and clear of cancer. And thinking of that now it makes me regret that I wasn’t more aware of it. That I didn’t send her a massive bouquet of flowers that day, or write a fat check to a research charity in her honor, or have a freakin’ parade for her. Truly. I can think of no better day to jump into a fountain in public and dance and dance and dance.

Of course, there are so many other women who I’ve known–and even not personally known–who I’d love to recognize. The mothers of friends that I made in adulthood, who died when my friends were young girls. Women I never knew but whose daughters dazzle me daily with their friendship and intelligence and creativity, not to mention their own amazing mothering. To all those long-gone mothers, I pay tribute to you and promise to take special care of your girls. (They’re all doing great! You’d be incredibly proud!)

So today I shout out to you from my front porch. Sitting here in the sunshine of a warm October California day. Happy to be alive. Happy to be the mother of a sweet dumpling baby who is sleeping inside and a spunky brilliant spitfire of a preschooler. Two daughters with whom I hope to share a long and illness-free lifetime.

And of course, I hope the same for you and your daughters, mothers, cousins, sisters, and favorite aunts.

So here’s how I envision we get there. Let’s go out and get mammograms despite how unpleasant we may have heard that they are. Let’s really do regular self exams. And get tested for the BRCA gene if you have a family history. Let’s laugh in the face of the crumbling economy by writing out generous checks today to Susan G. Komen For the Cure, or Breast Cancer Research Foundation, or National Breast Cancer Foundation or whatever charity or hospital or research center is meaningful to you.

If everyone does their part today, maybe a few years from now when someone brings it to your attention that it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, you’ll think to yourself, “Oh, right. Breast cancer! I’d almost forgotten that disease even existed.”

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About Me

Posted: September 24th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Cancer, Daddio, Food, Housewife Superhero, Husbandry, Mama Posse, Miss Kate, Mom, Other Mothers | 8 Comments »

I realized recently that my blog lacks an About Me section.

The problem is, my personal IT support technician/spouse is away on a business trip, so I’m unable to alter the site’s, uh, complex architecture singlehandedly. (Besides, it makes Mark feel so needed when I let him do these things for me.)

While I await his return, here’s my first take on how I might describe myself:

I’m a mother of two from Oakland, CA who hates mushrooms. My ears aren’t pierced. Well, they were once, but those holes closed up decades ago. My mother died of pancreatic cancer. Women who’ve had natural childbirth are my heroes. I’ve never seen Star Wars. I’ve been a VP, toy reviewer, CNN producer, and state park employee. My favorite holiday is July 4th. I love surprises, resist change, and can’t tolerate wimpyness. I adore old women. I’ve had migraines that have put my right eye out of commission for weeks at a time. I once ate a 24-course meal. I’ve never competed in the Olympics. I went to cooking school to become a pastry chef, then decided against it. I’ve chatted with Mick Jagger. I loved high school and was unimpressed with college. My father’s name is Ferdinand. Altogether I’ve taken 13 years of French. I’ve never had a perm. I’ve lived in Rhode Island, Ohio, Massachusetts, D.C., New York, Georgia, California, France, and England. In a life riddled with happiness, motherhood has brought me supreme contentment. Some people think I have nice hands. I once spent a raucous night out with the White House Secret Service. Sometimes I want to eat my children. I don’t know how to follow a football game. My husband spent the better part of his career at Sports Illustrated. If I were President, liking coconut-flavored rum wouldn’t be uncool. I pronounce ‘aunt’ AHHHnt and ‘apricot’ with a short ‘a.’ Cats scare me. I have a terrible memory. The greatest compliment I’ve ever gotten is that my daughter Kate looks like me. I can dish it out but I can’t take it. Math Game Day in fourth grade always gave me a stomachache. My father is afraid of heights and peach fuzz. A psychic once told me I was a famous ballerina in a past life. I skipped having a first marriage and got a brilliant trophy husband at age 37. I’ve never had braces. For a made-for-TV movie I once played a woman who choked while eating in a restaurant. Parades often make me cry with joy. If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning. The love I have for my husband and daughters can best be described as rabid. I’m an obsessive yard saler and recovering packrat. My super powers are the ability to sleep anywhere and parallel parking. I’m the youngest of four girls. I disagree with the way the word ‘segue’ is spelled. I didn’t make a million dollars before turning 30. I look dead in both yellow and light gray. I once stuck a pussy willow up my nose. Seeing a person carrying a box of hot pizza always delights me. I think people who put lines through their sevens are pretentious. If it’s not too much to ask, I’d like a high school marching band to play at my funeral. I know how to say the following things in Polish: ‘underwear,’ ‘Grandma,’ ‘ass,’ and ‘I’m going to throw up.’ I’m a wannabe Jew. If it weren’t for house cleaners, I’d get around to changing my sheets about as often as frat boys do. My best piece of financial advice is to pay for babysitting now instead of marriage counseling later. I’m an avid recycler. My greatest life’s work has been ridding myself of any trace of a Rhode Island accent. It wasn’t until my mother was gone and I had children of my own that I realized I’d inherited her brilliance for tackling tough laundry challenges. I can’t be inside on sunny days. I felt betrayed my senior year of college when the hippies cut their hair short to get jobs at investment banks. I’m not even a little bit country. My last meal would include a Del’s Lemonade.

How much room do they give you in those blog templates for the About Me section anyway?

Well, this will have to do for starters.


Hi Ho Silver, Away!

Posted: August 3rd, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Cancer, Little Rhody, Mom, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop | No Comments »

When my mother was sick and started losing her hair, my sister Ellen went online to find her some turbany hat-type things. I was home in RI when the package arrived, and since Mom and I didn’t know Ellen had ordered them, when we saw the return address—Chemo Savvy—we weren’t sure what to expect.

But when you’re relegated to spending day after day indoors, a mysterious package like this represents a small adventure. So, sitting on the edge of the bed, I knifed the tape off the box and handed it to my mother to open.

Not one to beat around the bush, when she saw what was inside were hats for her balding head, she rolled her eyes. “Oh God. Look at these,” she said, holding one up. Then looking at the label, “Ellen sent them.”

Complaining, especially when she was sick, had become somewhat of an art form for my mother. In fact, she could be ruthless, and many was the time my sisters or I would chase after some kindly nurse or visitor who’d been worn down by my mother’s crabbiness, to convince them while standing in the driveway that she didn’t mean it, she was really just angry at the cancer not them, and tomorrow would be a better day.

From here now I can see that the complaining, and the brutal sarcasm—which had always been her hallmark—must have been a kind of last-ditch form of empowerment. Making fun of the hats distanced her from the unwelcome reality that was upon her. Made it somehow seem like wearing turbans when your hair falls out from chemo was something other people do, not you. Even if it was just for a moment before having to give into whatever it was, she liked to exercise some resistance.

Thankfully, my mother’s sense of humor managed to thrive alongside her grumpy-patient persona. So after the initial, “Now why did she buy these?” remark, followed by an eyebrow raise and an approving cluck that they were at least all cotton, she pulled out one of the hats, put it on, and looked at me while intoning, “Chemo Saaavvvy!”

We sat on the bed for God knows how long, both trying on the hats, commenting to each other, “Kemo Sabe? That hat is Chemo Savvy!” and laughing until we cried.

When all else looked bleak, these moments provided enough of a respite to fortify us for the next gut-wrencher lurking around the corner.

This morning Chez McClusky we had some excellent family time piled into Mark and my bed, reading books, playing with Kate’s new yard sale doll, and kissing the bejesus out of Paige. Since Paige’s favorite alone time activity is clawing at her head, I’ve started putting her to sleep in those cotton skull caps intended for newborns. And since she’s outgrown most of them by now, they don’t fold up at the brims like they’re supposed to.

When the hat’s pulled down low on her eyes, the resulting look is at best like a flapper girl. With her ears sticking out–or more often than not, one ear–she looks slightly Smurfish. Or, if you catch her at just the right angle, as I did today, hat snug around the forehead and loose but crumpled down on top, she looks a little Chemo Savvy.

Oh Miss Paige, who we love so well. You will never know your grandmother, I’m sorry to say. But take it from me, she had a wicked sense of humor. And I just know that if she saw you this morning, she’d be calling you her little Kemo Sabi.

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Please please please don’t nothing bad happen

Posted: December 4th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Cancer, Husbandry, Misc Neuroses, Miss Kate | No Comments »

There is a mundane rhythm to my life these days, peppered with ecstatic happiness.

Mark’s job is good. He’s become a regular media darling. This morning, for instance, he was on Morning Edition on NPR, and he was amazing. That great resonant sexy voice of his that I fell in love with over endless epic phone calls early in what I was too gun-shy to even call our “relationship.” And he was articulate, like he is. Explaining something that someone else using other words would not convey in nearly as compelling a way. That’s my boy. I got into work and one of the women in production said, “I heard your husband on the radio this morning,” and I broke out of my I’m-the-boss-and-mostly-professional mode to gush for a few minutes about how great he sounded and how smart he is and how proud I am, and then I sort of shook myself out of it and said, “Okay. Have a good morning,” and wandered off to my office.

And my job is good. I mean, there’s a reason when in every one of my interviews people prattled on about the employees there being “salt of the earth.” The thing is, they ARE. I mean, I’ve been searching like a truffle sniffing pig for some office politics and have yet to unearth any. It’s almost creepy. And Thursday I’m co-hosting a holiday party with the editorial director that it appears people are genuinely looking forward to. I mean, in our team meeting this morning I felt like that intangible element of team-ness was really taking shape. Two months in and I’m no longer looking out at everyone there as them, and feeling more like a natural part of things. (Sure, I still think they’re the Bad News Bears in some client meetings, but with firm gentle guidance I’m hopeful we can even make progress there!)

And Kate. [Insert proud mama rant jam-packed with love here.] What can I say other than she continues to dazzle and delight us. Our trip to North Carolina was another wonderful touchstone with the Miller clan. Kate discovered the joys of getting to know a dog up close with Chuck and Ann’s beagle Zoe. Day One she peered down at her from my arms. On Day Two she woke up in the hotel where we stayed chanting “doggie.” Day Three she sat in the middle of the living room and let Zoe lick her face. And in the course of all spending the days together, I walked upon scenes with Kate and her grandma and/or great grandma that were too sweet for any Kodak film to ever capture. And as the report goes (since I was in DC with Amelia and company), on the traditional post-Thanksgiving shopping day, Kate greeted every mall shopper she encountered with a “hi.” Mark claims she said that no less than 200 times.

Wal-Mart: If you’re hiring greeters on the other end of the age spectrum, we have your gal.

And sure, the nanny has put an occasional bur in my saddle. (You know, that ‘ole saddle of mine.) But overall, even when it’s just the coming home and getting Kate in bed then sitting on the couch with Mark to, yes, eat dinner in front of the TV (sorry, Mom)–I just get silly happy and have to do little dances and lunge at Mark with cheek kisses. Hooray! We have a sweet-ass little baby sleeping in that room! I have this plate of ravioli, here for the eatin’! I have my husband to sit with and not even maybe talk so much but just lounge head to toe on the couch under an afghan. What on God’s green earth could be better? I ask you.

I really really really don’t want anything bad to come up. I just feel like stuff was bad for a while. Or everything good was paired with something bad. I got engaged. My mother got cancer. My mother died. I got married. I got pregnant. My weird eye problem came back. But then the eye got better. And Kate arrived on the scene.

And here we are being happy even though, with the exception of Kate’s glorious existence, nothing really big is happening in our lives. (As much as we’re enjoying watching Lost on DVD, I don’t think it’s something we’ll look back on years from now and be nostalgic about.) But sometimes I can’t help feeling like this is too good for me to deserve. Or maybe just that my the-good-with-the-bad spate was the way my life was always going to be from here on out. But I’m hoping that I’ve broken that pattern.

Please don’t let the other shoe fall. Please let me roll with this too-good-to-last feeling for a while longer. I really am relishing it and appreciating it, if that counts for anything. And if it does have to be interrupted by something, hopefully it’ll just be that there is office politics at Sunset after all.

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To Hell with Cancer

Posted: October 5th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Cancer, Friends and Strangers, Husbandry, Miss Kate | 1 Comment »

I really hate to always have something to whine about these days but the preponderance of cancer I’ve been hearing about seems a legitimate reason.

First I find out that my friend Barb has a 40-year-old friend with late stage lung cancer. Never smoked a day in her life. Then Blanca, Kate’s former Thursday babysitter, tells me her father has cancer that they first thought was isolated and treatable and later determined was spread throughout his body. Then Mrs. Demopulos, Amelia’s mom, is diagnosed, which is a crushing blow since my mother already got cancer so it doesn’t seem fair that hers should too. And also because I love Mrs. D like a second mother. Then yesterday my father asks me on the phone in the course of an otherwise mundane “how’s the weather there?” conversation whether I’d heard that my Aunt Mary has colon cancer. (I had not.)

Aunt Mary isn’t really an aunt. She was our neighbor growing up and in many ways is closer to my sisters and I than many of our blood relations. I guess the aunts that you pick versus those that you just get can be that way. I mean, not to say anything remotely negative about my “real” aunts–but Aunt Mary is an amazing special person and force of nature. She’s super positive and friendly and fun and a great cook and has tons of energy and a fabulous head of (natural) strawberry blonde hair and you’d never know in a million years that she’s 87. In fact, she’s got so much vim and vigor that she takes care of her 92-year-old sister.

I still don’t know the complete story of what the doctors have said the deal is with Aunt Mary, and with all this other cancer news and Rose having died and the new job and new nanny and Mark traveling for work a lot stress, I kind of just can’t deal right now. Hopefully maybe there is something they can do about it.

Speaking of Mark, he’s away for one night for a work retreat and I’m forlorn like a schoolgirl. I think I’m still feeling the fall-out of the world’s stressiest week last week and while we all continue to transition into me working again, I would just prefer that he be here to sit in the couch with me and pat my hand saying “there there” as needed. Next week he’s away Monday through Thursday in New York. (Don’t tell any robbers.) I may well languish without him.

Speaking of “there there,” I really want to get Kate to sleep through the night more consistently. It’s never fun to be awakened from a deep sleep to go and nurse her, but when I need to wake up at 6:15 the following morning to go to work, it’s particularly unsavory. So, the other night when Kate had already woken up once, we decided Mark would go in the second time and try to get her back to sleep sans boob.

Kate’s pediatrician told us to do the ole Ferber thing of going in and saying in an unemotional tone, “It’s time to go to sleep,” and rubbing her belly to try to calm her down. Mark has done this a handful of times and more often than not it results in Kate losing her shit upon seeing him. It’s clear her internal dialogue then is, “What are you doing in here? I want the one with the boobies! I want miiiiiilk!” She starts crying hysterically and when he comes back into our room I always say to him, “How’d that go?”, and every time I think that’s a really funny thing to say.

What was so weird/funny/great was the other night Mark went in to do what we refer to as “there there” and when he arranged her blankets nicely over her and cooed, “Time to go to sleep,” she actually did! When he got back into bed we didn’t even say anything to each other because we were both bracing for her to lose it (and of course didn’t want to jinx anything). But despite us waiting for the other shoe to drop, she just settled back down into sleep. It was divine.

Of course, when he tried it last night, she lost her shit, and a few minutes later I caved and went in to nurse her. Ah well. As my grandmother used to say with a sigh of resignation, “What are you going to do?”

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Posted: September 17th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Cancer, Friends and Strangers, Husbandry, Miss Kate | No Comments »

Got a “not good news” call yesterday from my friend Amelia who I’ve known since we crawled around on blankets in each other’s backyards as our mothers looked fabulous in cat’s eye glasses and clam-diggers. Turns out her mother has cancer. It’s something that was just discovered in the past week, and they don’t yet know what course of action the doctors will recommend. I’m so incredibly sick of hearing about people getting cancer. What the hell is out there that’s poisoning us? And can’t it skip over the people I love?

What’s weird is that our neighbor who is pregnant just lost her father to a heart attack. And here is Amelia, eight weeks until her due date, and dealing with this horrible diagnosis that leaves her stressed out and emotional and checking on airline policies to see when and if she can fly, instead of nesting like a maniac like she should be.

At least there’s no terrible conclusive word on her condition. So I’m summoning all my powers of cancer-ridding thoughts and sending them across the country to beloved Mrs. D. Damn it.

After getting off the phone Mark and I were off to do some errands and I said I really should visit Rose first. She’s been in her final days for about a week now, and even though someone is supposed to call me from the nursing home if her “status changes,” I still wasn’t sure whether she’d be there when we arrived. I was already so sad about Mrs. D, but since geography prevented me from being with her (another adoptive granny to Kate), I’d try my luck at seeing Rose.

When we arrived, Marie, an administrator at the nursing home who loves Rose like a Mama, told us Rose was out in the garden. I had to admit that for a second I thought, “Alive in the garden?” Marie said they were able to move her into a kind of wheelchair bed and roll her out there. She was getting a manicure actually, from her son’s girlfriend. They were all out there–Rose’ twin sons and the girlfriend. Walk to the yard and turn all the way around to the left, she said, and we’d see them. “I’m sure they’d love to have you join them.”

Mark and I looked at each other as we headed for the back door. Huh. We’d been geared up to brace for news that she’d died, so it was odd shifting gears to the fact that she was getting a manicure outside. Odd but good, mind you.

Sure enough there they were. The garden was in bloom and sun was peeking in from the shade of the trees, and there was Rose in a hot pink fleece robe and black and white patterned scarf. He sons stood up when we approached (she raised ‘em right) and I introduced Mark, and we met Stephanie, Martin’s girlfriend, who was sweetly holding Rose’s hand.

Rose was more lucid than she’d been in days. She still dozed off often, but when she did open her eyes she smiled and laughed to see Kate. She even scolded us for not dressing her warmly enough. “That baby needs socks!” she said to Mark. Her sons shook their heads and chuckled. (Those twins tend to move in unison that way.)

We had a lovely visit. The weather was warm and comfortable, our sprits were high, and the garden was so peaceful and intimate that you’d never know looking down at our little party we were sitting outside a nursing home. Rose’s sons joked that according to their mother, none of us would ever be dressed warmly enough. We even took some great pictures.

It seemed, if only for a little while, Rose was back.

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Farewell, Katie

Posted: June 2nd, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Cancer, Mom | 1 Comment »

Katie Couric, that is. For those sub-stone dwellers, Wednesday was Katie Couric’s last day after a 15-year stint on the Today show. And uncool as it is to admit, it kills me that she’s leaving. This is right up there with my despair over Judging Amy going off the air, though the Katie Couric thing is probably remotely more socially-acceptable to admit.

The thing is, I didn’t even watch the Today show very often, but it was somehow comforting knowing it was there. I’m one of those can’t-have-the-TV-on-when-it’s-sunny-out types. Or at least, I’m assuming there are others like me, and that collectively we make up a type. So, the last time I really indulged in the show was during The Rains.

There truly is something down-to-earth and likeable about Katie Couric. She’s articulate and all, but can be really goofy, and shares a good deal of personal stuff on the show that makes her seem like you and me, not some rich celebrity. Not that I didn’t already know everything that there was to know about her from my mother.

My mother was a world-class Katie Couric fan. Aside from the more largely known facts of her husband’s death from colon cancer, my mother knew that Katie was one of four girls, and the youngest. (Starting to sound familiar?) She was the celebrity daughter my mother never had. For all her accomplishments, my mother was bursting with maternal pride. And she’d ruefully express concern over Katie’s bad haircuts, or love life exploits. It seemed that despite the fact that she was one of millions of other fans, my mother saw herself as having a unique connection to Katie Couric. I guess that’s the secret to her success.

For the record, my mother also adored Matt Lauer. “He got his start in Rhode Island, you know!” For anyone who might have thought he cut his teeth in some other market, my mother had a grass-roots campaign going to ensure she spread the word that he started on Evening Magazine in Providence—our own back yard!

So, once in an unusual twist of Bruno-family geo-positioning, my sister Ellen, my mother, and I were all in New York City at the same time. Mom was watching Ellen’s kids as she did some film thing, and I was passing through to visit Mike and Lorin before a trip home to Bristol. The gods would never smile on us this way again, I thought. My mother was hardly one for jaunting off to NYC at the drop of a hat. I suggested I pick her up at a painfully early hour at her hotel, and we make ourselves part of the nuisance that gathers outside the Today show studio. My mother was thrilled with the idea, and I think she got plenty of mileage out of the adventure before we even went.

Of course, that morning I woke up with the after-affects of a few glasses of wine throbbing through my skull. But I felt like a parent who’d promised an excited child something. I dragged myself awake and managed to shower and get from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Tragically, Katie Couric was out that day. We were peering into the studio and didn’t see her. I thought my mother would be crushed, but she brushed it off and focused her attention on the dashing Matt Lauer. “Look at the cut of his suit! He dresses so beautifully.”

Mark Tivoed the show that day, and in a pan of the crowd you can see Mom and I waving along with all the other camera-hungry fans. And I have some good photos too. Mom was wearing a blue scarf on her head babushka-style.

When she was sick she told me that day was one of her “highlights.” And in the days that I was home taking care of her, we would wake up every morning and tune into the show on the old kitchen TV with the rabbit-ears antenna. Even when she was in an ornery sick-of-being-sick mood, or I was stressed because she was clearly not eating the eggs I’d cooked her, we could sit in front of the Today show and let the light and chipper mood of it all wash over us. Of course, half the fun was making fun of things. “Celine Dion. What a puke,” she’d say. Or we’d ravage the culinary merits of the meal a guest chef had prepared.

So last night I finally tuned into my recording of Katie’s final show, and had a good bawl. With Mom gone, the show had provided me with some connection, some continuation with her. And not only does it kill me that she wasn’t around to call when the announcement was made that Katie was leaving, it just sucks that for me here now it won’t be the same any more.

As Marie pointed out, Mom would have been happy at least that Meredith Viera was stepping in. She went to the Lincoln School in Providence, you know.

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