Finding Rhythm in a Day

I had a thought recently. If I strung all of my Facebook posts and tweets together and wrote them here instead, I would probably have enough content for a weekly newsletter, a daily blog post, and a self-published book in three volumes. Instead, I have spent the last several years pumping my thoughts into various other outlets. I figured I would give this blog some much needed love today.

This is a personal update (sorry, no UX tips and tricks today).

Some things remain the same, as they have been for the last year.

I’m still self-employed, working remotely. Right now, I’m working remotely with some pretty cool people in the midwest, designing apps for a big grocery chain. My wife is also still self-employed, keeping her clients happy. Our kids continue to entertain, inspire, and confound us.

But some things are new and significant.

Looking up at the tree behind the High Falls house

In about mid-February my mother-in law suffered a series of small strokes, leaving her nearly incapable of speaking. While still in the hospital, doctors began performing additional diagnostics, as is routine in the event of a stroke. They went searching for blood clots, but instead found pancreatic cancer, prolific enough to have spread to the liver and lungs.

We were all shocked, then mad, then confused, then depressed, then hopeless, then mad again, and sad over and over. Tears and bleary eyes and clenched fists at home, forced smiles and deflected conversations in social situations. Lots of plans went on the back burner. Then, after some time, the bizarre rituals that had entered our lives took their place as our newfound normality.

My sister-in-law left her apartment in Brooklyn and moved home to manage the new regimen of round-the-clock care. My wife travels to be with her parents every other week. On those weeks, I’m single-daddin’ it with my girls. Summer camps and activities have been rearranged around the rhythm of chemotherapy. For instance, we have all been staying at my in-laws this week. Next week, we’re all headed to the Massachusetts coast for some time at the beach at grandma’s request. The week after, we return to my in-laws. All in all, a three week trip together.

But an upside of sorts starts to shine through as you begin to appreciate what you have, seemingly more and more every day.

Mommy's hair salon

Some days are long. Others blow by like a car on the highway.

The sun rises. I’m awake. My wife is lovely. My kids are great. My work is satisfying. My family is strong.  My friends are caring.

The future is uncertain. There is no such thing as fairness. The greatest things in your life can be taken from you before you are ready, by something that you can’t see or fully understand. There is good and bad in this world and they often offset each other, but sometimes they don’t even come close, leaving an incomprehensible imbalance.

At this point we’re able to take it a day at  time, finding good days in the midst of tremendous uncertainty.

That got pretty heavy, so here’s an adorable cat gif.