As the misty ocean air cools our skin and cleans the funky LA air out of our lungs, we have easily forgotten that we live 90 miles north of here. Growing up in Milwaukee, I thought Los Angeles and San Diego, both being in California, had identical climates. I've lived in LA for nearly a decade, and it still seems new to me that LA and SD are completely different climates, cultures and topographies. We're about 20 miles north of SD, and the landscape is more like north Florida than the tropical dystopia of LA. There are giant hills to the east of us, covered in all kinds of green stuff, including pine trees and other bushy and leafy foliage—stuff that looks like it was here when ships were made of wood and spices were currency. I look up at those hills and imagine they are seven or eight miles east of the ocean for a good reason, something having to do with protecting the higher land from some eventual rising of the ocean.
I think about these sort of things a lot lately. Not because I am insane, but because my mind is drawn to the natural order of things, and how in everyday life, we walk around and drive around and talk and blast music and check email and miss what's in plain sight. How I miss things that are in plain sight. I'll tell you, Jo Ann, Grady, Polly and I are not missing anything with Pablo right now. Not a thing. We are breathing the same air. We are waking and walking together. We have the same passions, and they are all that of a soon-to-be six-year-old. We have recalibrated our sights to his sights. This kid has quite a pull. He is a powerful soul. He is an old soul, and that explains his throaty little voice. He tells us things and doesn't hold back. He observes. Boy, does he observe! Nothing gets by Pablo's lazer-sharp eyes and ears. And no chemo or radiation or steady series of medical insults has dulled any of his faculties. It's part of what's fascinating about our lives right now. Once in a while (OK, a lot) I stand back from the four or five of us as we sit in a park, or at Legoland, and I think, 'Can you f**king believe that inside this little child there are lumps of chaotic, ugly, unruly cells—cells that act completely + totally opposite of their host, our wonderful, beautiful, happy boy?'
¶ In the hot tub this evening, Pablo told me he wishes we lived here. He went on to tell me he is having a great time and enjoys having the option of three pools right outside our door, and water slides down the block. He talked fast and furious, falling into the speech pattern I've heard him developing for the past couple months. When we are away from medi-land for a long enough, and P has time to get his groove on, he gets his groove on in a major way. He never loses ground. He always makes it up.
When we returned home from Legoland late this afternoon, Pablo and I went into the hot tub. That was swimming session number one. We call them sessions—it's part of our patois, which is mostly a system of rhyming and jiving that Pablo has turned into a phonetic language-making thing that is cute to us and hilariously alarming to other kids. He's around us so much and other kids so little—any kid he ends up playing with hears P rip into one of his rhyming / jiving stanzas, and invariably says, 'What are you saying?' And Pablo just shrugs it off, responding with a 'I'm just making stuff up,' some other mild disconnection from the topic.
I always wonder if kids go back to their parents and report that Pablo was speaking in tongues. Thankfully, all of his friends' parents are our friends, and, like us, are kooks and wouldn't think anything of P speaking in tongues....
Speaking of speaking: Dr M rang Jo Ann's mobile phone at around 10 p.m. (I know: what an incredible man he is, taking time out of his personal life to speak to us about our son.) A few minutes into the call, Pablo walked up to Jo Ann, asked who she was speaking to, and said he wanted to talk to Dr M. He then talked to him about our entire day. When Pablo handed the phone back, Dr M informed her that P had just said more to him in two minutes than he has in the past year.
Those of you who've raised kids from birth to six years old have already been where we are. In the past three or four weeks, P has grown in width and depth. Just like that. As P misses what would have been his kindergarten year, he's made his own world of play, interaction, art, writing, wondering, experiencing. And like a true Castelaz man, talking.... We can't wait to see what it's like for P to enter kindergarten in the fall, at the Oaks. Hooking back up with other children in a formal setting will be a major kick for him.
P's asleep now, in Polly's bed. And we can't wait to hear him talking again in the morning....
Good night. We hope you and your family had a good one.