I posted this one at GoodHousekeeping.com four Christmases ago. It’s the kind of thing that makes you forget about your never-ending holiday list and that jackass who cut you off in the Best Buy parking lot. Enjoy:
It should have felt like any other crazy day during the holiday season. Already bogged down with too much to do by December 24th, I had to drop everything yesterday and take my son to the pediatrician – for the third time in two weeks. Normally, I’d be too busy worrying about what had to be done to stop and have my very own “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment. But normally, I don’t have cancer.
It’s been 17 days since his symptoms started. My nine-year-old has been battling a low-grade fever and headache ever since we walked out of the movie theater two-and-a-half weeks ago and he said, “I don’t feel too good.”
We ruled out strep throat and he missed a few days of school here and there, but, he never got better. His blood tests came back normal; no mono for him. Phew! But like any mother – especially a mother who spent much of the year battling cancer – I was worried. His pediatrician was, too, and so, he sent us for a head CT scan and a follow-up X-Ray for the pneumonia my son had a month ago.
When we got into the CT scan room, the nurse handed me one of those heavy bibs designed to protect me from the scan. You know, because we wouldn’t want to harm me after four weeks of radiation treatments. As I pulled the bib over my Sinead O’Conner hairdo, I told her, “Lady, I have enough radiation in me to power your machine.” She chuckled and said, “Every little bit helps.”
All this doctor stuff made my son and me hungry, so we stopped for lunch. We both ordered big bowls of soup, fancy salads and something called, “chocolate lava cake.” As we waited for dessert, it started to snow outside. The speaker played “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and we sang along.
…you would even say it glows…
He added, “like a flashlight” while I inserted my version, “like a light bulb.”
…people laughed and called him names …
He sang, “like Pinocchio,” while I offered, “like Charlie.”
“Hey,” I said. “Your generation has this song all wrong!”
“No, your generation is wrong!” he laughed, and we kept on singing.
…Santa came to say…
“Ho, ho, ho!” I said, while he sang, “In his underwear!”
…you’ll go down in history…
“Like George Washington!” he shouted, while I tried to drown him out with “Like Columbus!”
Just then, the chocolate lava cake arrived. As we spooned the whipped cream and heavenly hot chocolate into our mouths, he looked up at me and smiled. I tried to capture the moment forever in my head, thankful that I knew enough this year to stop and enjoy my “It’s a Wonderful Life” moment.
“You kids totally messed up that song,” I ribbed him. “No!” he defended himself. “You grown-ups did.”
As we left the restaurant, he reached up and held my hand as we walked through the snow together. Later, I got the report from his doctor: His scans were clean.
It’s a wonderful life, indeed.