It’s “Jewel Day”

I wear the same diamond stud earrings almost every day. I stole them from my mother many moons ago (she does know that I have them). They are simple, elegant, and go with everything. If she were ever to take them back, I’d have to save my allowance to get another pair just like them. I love them that much.

I don’t have a ton of jewelry, but what I do have is very high quality. I have a ruby ring and earrings that my parents gave me (I’m a July baby and ruby is my birthstone). And I have a strand of pearls and matching studs that I pull out for special occasions. My parents got those for me as well. My parents have excellent taste in jewelry, and if I could have escaped with more family jewels, I imagine I would have.

I’ve recently been studying art deco design since seeing the Chrysler Building and Empire State Building lobby in New York City – I’m completely captivated by this particular style. During my research I stumbled upon a website featuring art deco rings and I’ve fallen in love. I would say that simplicity has always ruled my sense of style – never wanting to draw attention to myself – but I think I’m beginning to evolve. Things that I always tried to run from – the color of my hair, the fairness of my skin, the curves that have “plagued” me (AKA: my big butt) – I’m learning to embrace them. I’m learning that I’m a bit more complex than a plain white t-shirt and a pair of jeans. And when I write my first best-seller, I’m going to buy myself a beautifully ornate art deco diamond ring. Or, if the book doesn’t work out, I can just save up my allowance and buy one when I’m 90.

Actually, one of my jewels is right here beside me. My Madeline. She’s a one-of-a-kind. Her birthday is in April so she is fortunate enough to actually have the diamond as her birthstone. Being a diamond certainly fits her: she is vibrant, commands attention, and is very sparkly!  Ben, being a June baby, is my pearl. Quiet, cultured, takes his time so he can turn out something stunning. Both of my children are such treasures.

I met a lot of “gems” on this trip to New York. Getting out and walking around showed me a different side of the city and I was completely charmed. People went out of their way to be kind to Ben – from a man with Miniature Pinschers in Central Park to a man on the subway sharing his prayers to some very generous people on our flight back to Denver – so many people went out of their way for Ben. While the trip from a medical perspective was a bust, the people we met more than made up for it.

Thursday was the most emotional day of all. We went to the hospital to get blood work done only to be severely disappointed with the results. His counts would not support a surgical procedure at this time. I was surprised to learn that they usually wait about five weeks after the last round of chemo to do any surgical procedures, so why they had us come out so soon after his chemo is beyond me. Just another link in the frustrating chain called childhood cancer.

So, when we received the news that his counts were too low, they suggested giving him a platelet transfusion and then told us to go home. Going home, however, wasn’t just a jump in the car and get on the road. We had to call our friend with the buddy passes to get a flight home. Rush from his transfusion to check out of the Ronald McDonald House (which has to be cleaned – including washing the linens before check out). Roll our bags to the corner and hail a cab. Get the only female cabbie in the city, who was not an aggressive driver. She asked me which route I wanted to take to the airport and I said “the fastest”. She then told me that I picked the wrong time of day to get to the airport quickly, which nearly sent me over the edge. I was sweaty from cleaning like a maniac, packing quickly, running to catch a cab… all of this coming at me at the very last minute. I almost broke down. I asked her to just do the best she could – whatever happened, happened. We would either be killed by a more aggressive driver or we’d make it to the airport in a day or so.

I knew that the flight we were hoping to get on was booked to capacity, but we had to at least try. So, we showed up (safely, I should add) and checked in. I got the look of “Are you REALLY trying to get on this flight?” from the woman checking us in. And that’s when I started to cry. The day had been really disappointing, I just wanted to get out of there.

When we got to the gate, there was a young man in front of me also trying to get on the flight. He looked at me with the territorial “I got here first” and I glanced over at my bald headed son sleeping in a wheelchair, which meant to imply “I don’t care if you got here first, we’ll be getting on that plane ahead of you.” We both stood there, staring each other down, and he started to chat. He said, “I’ve been trying to get out of here all day. I need to get to Denver because my band has a gig.” I just smiled at him through my exhausted, tear-streaked eyes and wished him luck. Then I noticed the lady from the check-in counter speaking with the man at the gate. I couldn’t make out what she was saying but she kept looking at me while she whispered to her colleague. I thought she said something like “we have to get that baby on the plane,” which led me to believe that she was doing her best to help us get on the flight.

Finally, after all the ticketed passengers had boarded, there were five of us standing there getting ready to shred the gate agent. He said, “By the way, you all got on”. There was an audible sigh of relief. The guy trying to get to his gig nearly cried. He looked at me and said that he was having such a moral conflict of wanting to get to his gig versus letting the cancer kid go home. He was glad he didn’t have to make that decision.

Ben and I were the last ones on the plane. And, of course, we were in the very last row. So we had to walk down the long aisle, bumping everyone’s elbows with our bags as we passed, but it seemed that everyone was genuinely happy that we made the flight. As I buckled Ben into his seat my body started to shake. Too much stress and no more room for it. Some of it had to come out. So, the tears started to flow.

The man in the seat next to me was very comforting. We started to chat a bit about Ben’s condition which morphed into a 3 1/2 hour conversation about a little bit of everything. The most incredible tid-bit of information I learned was that he used to TAP DANCE on BROADWAY!!!! I nearly fell out of my seat since tap dancing is my absolute favorite! I was prepared to cry all the way back to Denver, but, thanks to my neighbor on the plane (and a Bloody Mary) the day ended on a much better note. He was an incredible ray of sunshine.

We also met a breast cancer survivor on our flight back to Denver. She made sure we were set up with snacks for the flight. She works in Manhattan, but her husband is stationed at Ft Buckley here in Colorado. She was so incredible and wanted to offer her services anytime we were coming to New York. She said that she can assist in getting tickets to baseball games, take us out to dinner, whatever we needed. While we were waiting for our bags to arrive in the airport, she gave Ben a $100 gift card and told him to buy himself a couple of games for his DS. Wow.

So, we didn’t accomplish the medical aspect of why we were in New York City, which was a big fat bummer. But we were able to meet jewel after jewel in a city that is not exactly known for having people with sweet dispositions. I know that we were blessed to the meet the rarest gems the city had to offer. And that experience was priceless.

2 thoughts on “It’s “Jewel Day””

  1. Thanks for the news. I’m glad you’re all back together. Hope Ben will have that surgery and whatever else he needs really soon. Sending you courage and energy (what’s left of mine) from Minnesota! Keep on, keep on. Jane

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  2. Oh Lordy, I have a huge lump in my throat thinking of you trying to get on that airplane. I’m glad you had jewels and Bloody Mary’s to get you through!

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