Big brother Payton had no idea how much his world would change. Not just having to share his parents & toys, but being bowled over by this little force of nature. Nine years later, he’s still trying to figure her out.
From the very beginning, this little girl was going places. And she would get there with accessories — she always had a purse on her arm, and in general liked shoes more than clothes. I won’t embarrass her by publishing, but we have lots of photos of her in a diaper & shoes — nothing else!
Don’t let that sweet face fool you — there’s a holy terror inside that teeny little body.
She’s a master of disguises. One minute she looks like a sweet, innocent, quiet and tidy little girl.
The next minute, she’s doing this…
From a very early age, Macy was wild & crazy and very, very adept at expressing herself. (Notice the look on my face here: exhaustion mixed with helpless with a little bit of terror thrown in for fun.) She was not even two years old and had mastered the art of the crazy face.
By age 3, Macy had enlisted accomplices and trained them well in her arts. She will likely shoot me in the head for publishing a photo of her in a Dora nightgown; despite her young age there she currently has her fashionista rep to uphold.
This was a common sight at our house in her early years. In this particular instance, she decorated herself while I was talking to a workman in our new house about some warranty repair issues. The guy was in his 20s, unmarried without kids, and he about had a heart attack when she appeared on the scene like this. I asked him to wait a sec while I got my camera. After I took the photo he said, I can’t believe you stopped to photograph her; I thought you would spank her or something. I shook my head and said, spanking a true artist is futile and only makes your hands hurt.
There seemed to be no end to her uses for markers. Thank heavens they’re washable. The blue beard is one of my favorites. I especially like how it complements the blue writing on her Red Sox shirt (and yes, we brainwashed her, too, but it didn’t take, and she can be spotted in Yankee apparel. YUCK.)
She’s not looking too happy in this photo; maybe I caught her and subjected her to a picture before she was done creating her look.
In case you are wondering, it was not Halloween. Just an ordinary day in Macy’s life.
You know how those creative geniuses can be.
At least she looks happy in this photo. I’m just glad she wasn’t blinded by all the sparkly gunk in and around her eyes.
We used to joke (and still do, actually) that Payton rarely had a crumb or speck of food on his face or clothes, but Macy wore more than she ate.
I’m pretty sure she needed to be hosed down after this meal. Spaghetti in our kitchen in Durham. Good times.
She liked to drink with gusto, too.
I love how she has her sippy cup in one hand, and a water jug in the other. If she’s a double-fisted drinker in college, we’ll say, remember when… This too was in the kitchen in Durham; I will never forget that laminate floor.
She had just turned 3 and we were visiting my parents’ friends, Keith & Nancy Davis, at their beach house in Galveston. It was February, so cold and windy but we still got out on the beach. Macy found this shell and was convinced she could hear the ocean.
A beach baby was born. This girl loves the beach: the sand, the surf, the seagulls…all of it.
In the picture below, she’s 2 and at Salisbury Beach in Massachusetts with her buddy Amanee.
Look how tiny she was. But never without her shades, even at age 2. That seems like 100 years ago.
When she wasn’t at the beach, she was in the pool. Swimming has always been basic to Macy’s existence. Even as a tiny baby, she loved to be in the bath, whether in the sink, the portable baby tub, or eventually in the real bathtub. To this day, she can stay in forever.
Swim team was fun. She especially liked winning a blue ribbon.
She has always been a hard worker, and even at this young age she worked hard at hosing down the gunite stage of the pool.
It had to be done twice a day, and she took that job very seriously. In fact, she seemed offended if anyone else tried to do it.
I don’t recall for sure, but I’m guessing that the gunite wasn’t the only thing she squirted with the hose.
Come on, fill the pool already, people! Let’s go swimming.
And swim she does, year-round. Yes, it’s usually warm in Houston, but there are some days in the January-February range that are chilly. Those days do not stop Miss M from swimming. Once when she was 3 or 4 and insisted on swimming on a chilly day, Aunt Sophia asked her if it was “nice and cold” and Macy said, “no, it’s nice cold.”
Not long after the pool was finally finished, Macy found a little frog swimming in, but trying to get out of, the pool.
Her animal loving instincts kicked in and she raced to get the net and rescue that frog. This was just one example of her unconditional love of all critters.
Before our beloved dog Maddy died, Macy asked if our next dog could be named Harry. She had been reading the fabulous children’s book series Harry the Dirty Dog and got an idea.
Lo and behold, when we went to Houston Humane Society we found Harry, a not-so-dirty dog. He promptly became Macy’s dog.
She’s an equal-opportunity dog lover, though, which is a good thing for Ed’s dog Sugar, who is wicked and wily and full of energy. Sort of like Macy.
I thought we’d found the cutest dog ever when we adopted Pedey on Payton’s 8th birthday. He was tiny and soft and cuddly and seemed sane compared to the other dogs in our life.
The birds get in on the Macy love, too, not just frogs and dogs.
She loves to make bird treats for our fine feathered friends.
Take a pinecone, coat it in peanut butter (the messier the better, according to Macy), then roll it in birdseed. Tie a string in the middle of the pinecone.
Voila — tasty treats for all the birds in your life.
Macy thought this was the best thing ever, and couldn’t wait to get her hands on that little guy.
I hope that the grown-up Ike is happy and healthy with fond memories of the sweet little girl who helped care for him when he lost his home in a tall tree in Spring, Texas.
And don’t forget about Jeffrey, the orphaned mockingbird rescued by the Hoover family.
The smile on Macy’s face says it all.
A bird on your shoulder and the sun on your face: does life get any better?
This was a big thrill: meeting Mo Willems, author of some of Macy’s favorite books.
If you’ve never read “The Pigeon Wants a Puppy” then I urge you to get to the bookstore today. You’ll thank me later.
We met Mo at Blue Willow Bookshop one Saturday and when it was Macy’s turn to go through the line and have him sign her books, she wanted to ask him a question. I figured it would be something about the characters or the creative process, or maybe the illustrations. Nope, she asked Mo, “What’s your phone number?”
Starting school was pretty cool. Macy especially liked her beautiful backpack. So much so that not long after school started, she wrote her name all over it, in messy kindergarten scrawl, with a giant black sharpie.
Kinda reminded me of the time she wrote all over our brand-new furniture, and herself, with a giant black sharpie.
I can’t find those photos. Probably burned them because of the painful memories they invoke. But she looked pretty proud of herself, wearing rainboots & a diaper, covered in black sharpie.
The 50th day of kindergarten was lots of fun, and Macy convinced me to get matching poodle skirts. She’s very persuasive.
We also enjoyed the kindergarten Thanksgiving celebration.
With Macy in our lives, we have a lot to be thankful for. And not just around the holidays.
She likes anyone who does her bidding, but she & Papou have a special bond.
The chef’s hat stays at the restaurant, though, Macy. Sorry.
Make a wish!
Whether they want to or not.
Just wear it — it’s easier than arguing with her!
No matter what’s on the wish list, though, this birthday girl is always ready to party.
Costumes are not required, but Macy would highly recommend them.
Oh, if only every day were Crazy Hair Day!
May you always have crazy hair and lots of treats on your most special day, sweet girl.
Could it have been any bigger?
I had to go back to the store — twice — to buy more candy to fill it.
Then we worried that none of the kids would be able to break it.
Never fear, your baseball-loving brother supplied his metal bat. Plastic bats are for sissies.
And yes, she still loves pigs.
Has from day one and I suspect she always will.
I’m just waiting for her to discover that some people keep pigs as pets. Thanks a lot, George Clooney!
She “wrote” or more likely scribbled letter and wanted to mail them to friends and relatives near and far.
One year for her birthday, she got a lot of stationery and stamps.
Maybe she’ll be a foreign correspondent someday.
Or maybe just keep in touch with the people she loves.
Wherever you go and whatever you become, it’ll be great. This I know for sure. Because our Macy girl is wild, silly, caring, imaginative, wacky, creative, sweet, inventive, thoughtful, resourceful, funny, engaging, sensitive, loving, and all-around amazing.
Cheers to Macy!
As we prepare to bid adieu to 2010, I took a stroll down memory lane in the months since I joined the club of which no one wants to be a member. There were some great moments in the first few months of 2010, or BC (before cancer), and I made it my mission to ensure that the months that followed had the same. Two weeks before I was diagnosed, life was grand, as evidenced by the happy girls in this photo of Yvonne’s birthday dinner at Stella Soli. So fun! Who knew that something wicked this way comes?
The day before my surgery, Macy and I had the great good fortune to meet Jeffrey, a baby mockingbird rescued and rehabilitated by our friends the Hoovers. I’m sure I had a million things to do to get ready for the big day, but meeting Jeffrey was high on the list, and I wasn’t going to miss out on the chance to have this sweet little guy hang out with my favorite girl.
An awful lot of people did a whole lot of nice things for my family and me, following my surgery, including but certainly not limited to custom-made cupcakes,
One of my first post-surgery outings was around the corner to dinner at the Cremers’ for Keith’s famous crab towers: lump crabmeat topped with a most delectable avocado-mango salsa atop a bed of greens with a citrus-y vinaigrette.
Y’all know how much I love my bubbly.
Some may say I love it more than my kids, but that’s not fair.
We all know it would be a tie.
Two weeks after the surgery, but before the dreaded infection showed up, it was my birthday. Those who say it’s all downhill after 40 may not realize that to a cancer patient, each and every birthday is a gift, and I met birthday number 41 head-on with a welcome embrace: Mexican food, margaritas and the cutest cake ever with my girls. None better. Who cares that I still couldn’t wash my own hair at this point? Not me! I was happy to be upright and out of the house.
A week after my birthday, the bottom fell out of the extraordinary recovery I was experiencing post-surgery. We were at a joint birthday party for 3 June girls (but there were no joints at the party; that’s how rumors get started!), and I didn’t feel good. After two weeks of slowly but surely making progress and feeling better, this was weird. What was really weird was waking up the next day to a huge red rash and blisters at the surgery site on my right side. You don’t have to be a doctor to know that is not good.
and embarked on one of the most memorable summers ever, for baseball. Memorable because the team did so well (District champs, Sectional champs and on to the State championship in Tyler) and because the boys chose to show their support for me very publicly by wearing pink sweatbands all summer. These warriors in pink tore it up on the baseball field and made this mama so proud.
I only made it to a couple of games but got to follow along with all the action thanks to an iPhone app that allowed Trevor to “broadcast” the games to a website that I followed on my iPad from the hospital. I will never forget the look on the nurse’s face when she came into give me a shot of morphine and I told her I needed to wait (I never turn down the good drugs) because I wanted to keep my wits about me and follow the game. Also memorable was the wound-care specialist who had two sons go to State as All Stars who called me from home at 10:30 pm to see if Payton’s team won. They did.
In between hospitalizations, I spent a couple of hours one day in my backyard in the sunshine, watching Harry frolic in the pool. After being cooped up in a dreary hospital room and feeling lousy, the fresh air, sunshine and unbridled canine joy were just what I needed.
One of the best days of all was in early July, in between hospital visits. I had been to see Dr Darcourt, my third oncologist, and learned that he agreed with all the research Trevor had done: no chemo! Celebration was in order, and when Amy & I ordered champagne at lunch, our sweet waiter at PF Chang’s asked if there was something special to celebrate. He had no idea but we filled him in!
Another highlight was getting to spend the weekend in Galveston with Christy & Alexis, who were kind enough to teach Macy how to fish. And fish she did: that girl caught the biggest fish of the trip! Later that night, I caught a baby sting ray (not my intent, for sure). I still feel bad about that poor little guy happening by the tempting lure on my fishing pole. All’s well that ends well, though, and with some help from some more seasoned fishermen, the little guy was freed. More importantly, I had a fun weekend with great friends that approximated a return to what most people consider a normal life.
Despite the idyllic setting, that weekend was just an approximation, though, of normal life, and the infection would puzzle and vex not one but two set of infectious disease doctors. After two more hospitalizations and a new team of ID docs, we got a handle on it, and although the last thing I wanted was to go back to the hospital, and to the Medical Center at 10:30 on a Sunday night no less, I wasn’t alone in the joint.
Macy loaned me her beloved Froggy to keep me company, and he took his job seriously. He didn’t left my side until I was allowed to go home, and then he went straight from the suitcase into the washing machine lest he brought home any nasty germs from the hospital. We’d had quite enough of those in our life.
Early August was bittersweet: I was on the mend, literally, but still on IV antibiotics at home and not well enough to travel to Boston for our annual vacation. After already having missed my Duke girls’ trip to Lake Tahoe in early June and all of the State championship in Tyler, I was beyond sad to miss this trip, which is always the highlight of our summers. Leave it to Macy, though, to bring me a fantastic souvenir: Continental Airlines had unveiled a new drinks menu on her flight home from Boston, and she got me a pomegranate martini mix and, once home, brought two glassed full of ice, two lime wedges, and one shot of vodka. My favorite girl and I had a welcome-home drink together. Of all the bevvies I’ve consumed, that one may be my all-time favorite.
A few days after school started, and a week or so out of the hospital, Macy & I had tickets to see Jack Johnson play at the Woodlands pavillion. After a string of disappointments all summer, I was determined to make it to the show. It poured rain on us and traffic was horrendous, but we made it and had a great time. What would be an already-sweet occasion was all the better because I was there, upright and out of the house!
I got through the rest of August and September without incident, and was starting to think maybe, just maybe I would be able to actually make and keep some plans that didn’t involve a hospital.
October marked my first foray into Breast Cancer Awareness Month as a survivor. While always aware of the fact that every October is earmarked and punctuated with lots of pink ribbons, it’s a different experience on this side of a cancer diagnosis. I was tickled pink (sorry, couldn’t resist), when Payton’s baseball team played in this tournament.
Next up was an event that was huge for me: the Witches’ Open tennis tournament at our club. I went into my double mastectomy in the middle of our tennis season, not knowing how the surgery would affect my game. Of course it never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t get my game back, the question was how much and how soon. So playing in the Witches’ Open was a stellar event. Not only did I play with my longtime running buddy, Staci, but we won! I’m pretty proud of our little trophy.
That same night, still basking in the sweet glow of victory from the Witches’ Open, I made a return trip to the Woodlands pavillion for the Maroon 5 concert. Talk about a perfect day: tennis then a road trip & dinner with super fun girls, then the show. That great day slid into a great night, and again I was beyond happy to be upright and out of the house.
As if this month hadn’t been great enough, the last Friday night in October was the icing on the cake. I gathered by BFFs for the first annual Pink Party. Prepare to be seeing photos of this event every year for the rest of my life. It was that good. Many a nights laying in the hospital bed, I thought about what I was going to do once I finally got well enough to do something for my friends to show my appreciation for all the love and support they’d so freely given during the worst time of my life. The Pink Party was all I had envisioned it would be, and the fact that I was able to put on the dog for my girls was monumental for me.
Next on the calendar was Thanksgiving, and at the risk of sounding totally hokey, I had an awful lot to be thankful for this year. At first, as we approached the holiday, I tried not to think too much about it, for fear that reflecting back on all that had happened would overwhelm me. Then I realized that’s whacked, and instead of avoiding it, I should be relishing it–every bit of it. Another major triumph for me was making my mom’s famous crescent rolls. I’ve made them before with limited success, but this year, they rocked.
After Thanksgiving of course was Christmas, and the first ornament to go on our tree was this one: the cocktail shaker that says “Shake It Up.” I intend to do just that in the New Year.
And for the record, it was Macy who picked that ornament to go on first, in my honor. That girls knows me so well. Like most families, we have lots of cute and meaningful ornaments in our collection, but it makes me smile that she chose this one to kick off our Christmas season.
So as 2010 draws to a close, I can’t say that I’ll miss it. Unequivocally, it has been the hardest year ever. But amid the chaos and confusion and abject misery, there were a whole lot of bright spots. Those moments and memories outshine the yucky stuff.