The day had come to fly back to Houston and begin radiation. I woke London and Quinn to say goodbye. The picture of sweetness...side by side in the bed they share at Grammy and Grandpapa's house. They fell asleep playing "sock puppets"...a current favorite...and both still had their socks on their hands.
As small children often do, they continued their play as soon as their eyes opened. My suitcase, waiting by the door, became Sock Stage, Hiding Place, Playground.
Which is why, when our ride arrived and my dad carried it out to the car, a melt down ensued. Quinn had zipped her sock into the luggage. This was a crisis of the highest order. While Dad went to the car and searched the pockets for the sock, I grasped for some low hanging fruit to soothe my little girl.
Maybe Mommy could bring your sock on my trip? Then I wouldn't be so lonely...
She was unimpressed.
Dad managed to locate the sock, and Quinn's tears stopped. Then she surprised me by pressing the tiny little sock into my hand.
Here Mommy, take it with you.
My heart melted. Sock In the City was born.
For five weeks in Houston, Sock was in my pocket. There were Sock photo ops at treatment, picking up take-out, exploring parks...it was my way of creating memories for my kids even while we were 2000 miles apart. A way for them to look back on this time and feel like they were an important part of it, rather than left behind at home. From the best of Sock's adventures, I hope to write a children's book for them someday. (And by someday I do mean while they are actually still children.)
You can see everywhere Sock went on the Sock IntheCity FaceBook page. But here are a few of my favorites...
Sock in the City, Houston Skyline from Buffalo Bayou Park
￼All the hospitals here are big, tall city buildings! Sock is waiting with me in one of them, and we are looking out the window. The names of all the hospitals are in big letters on the sides of the buildings.
"Wow! A giant donut. Can I eat it?" Says Sock.
No Sock, that's not a donut. It's a machine. It's going to take pictures of Mommy's insides when she lays in the circle.
Today the doctors drew a "map" on Mommy so they know where to point the radiation beams that are going to zap the cancer.
Sock says, "can I draw on Mommy too?"
No, Sock. Only doctors can draw on our bodies. Little girls and boys and sock puppets draw on paper.
No, Sock, no! Don't sit there!
"So this is radiation? It looks like something out of Star Wars!" says Sock.
Well, we're not visiting a galaxy far, far away, Sock. But this very big, fancy machine is full of special energy called protons and electrons. That energy is going to look inside Mommy's body for cancer, and blast it into outer space!
Mommy has to lay very, very still. Two Technicians watch all of those computer screens to make sure I'm safe.
Lulu, Q, and Baby Brother, I hear you have snow at Grammy's house today. That is so exciting. I told Sock about the snow.
Sock said, "I want to play in the snow!"
So we looked for snow.
Look at what Sock found. They are big. They have bling. They are Texas snowflakes!
Do you think Sock can make a snow angel here?
When Lulu and Q were babies, Mommy worked at JCPenney. Daddy would bring you in the stroller to visit Mommy and your great big wonderful Silverdale JCPenney family. They loved you so much! Even today, they help our family in many ways, including lots of positive messages and prayers. This time of year, Mommy misses the energy and craziness of it all. Today I took Sock to a JCPenney and showed him the holiday stack-outs.
"Look!" Sock says. "Look over here..."
"...Happy Socks. I'm a Happy Sock, too."
"Yes, you are a very happy sock, Sock." Mommy replies.
I hope Sock makes YOU happy today, too.
Here's Mommy and Sock, ready for radiation treatment!
Daddy sent me a picture of you wearing sunglasses today, girls. Look at Mommy's glasses! There's a TV screen inside that helps me remember to hold my breath when the doctors need me to.
Grandpapa took Mommy and Sock to Goode Company to pick up some Texas Barbecue for dinner. The restaurant smelled just like Daddy's smoker!
"Oh, look over here!" says Sock. "A Texas armadillo! I could fit on his nose."
Look at the big bull. Do you think Sock could fit on the bull's nose?
"What are you thankful for?" Asks Sock.
Mommy tells Sock, "I'm thankful for Lulu, Q, and Baby Brother. I'm thankful they are healthy and full of laughter. I'm thankful for the good doctors in Texas who are working hard to take away my cancer. What are you thankful for, Sock?" Mommy wonders.
"Gravy." Says Sock.
Mommy and Sock went shopping today. We met a Police Officer on a horse! She was keeping the parking lot safe on a very busy day.
Sock learned a joke from the Police Officer. He wants to share it with you.
"What is it called when you cross a Selfie with a Horse?"
I give up, Sock. What is it called?
You're pretty funny, Sock.
How about a closer look...
Don't feed the goat, Sock!
Sock Selfie. Sunset chemo cruise.
"Sock," says Mommy, "guess who is coming to visit us in the big city of Houston?"
"Olaf?" Guesses Sock.
Silly Sock! Our favorite people in the world! Lulu, Q, and Baby Brother.
Today we went to the Children's Museum of Houston. Sock and Mommy had so much fun with our family!
A day at the Houston Zoo!
"How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
Mommy and Sock went on an Explore with Grandpapa. We walked past the Texas Children's Hospital. There were great big letters spelling out "Children's Hospital."
"Look at me!" Says Sock. "What letter is this?"
"I see the letter 'H'" Mommy says.
"What about this one?" Asks Sock.
"That's the letter 'O'" Mommy replies.
Sock says, "H. O. ... Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!!"
"Sock," Mommy says, "today I want to show you my FAVORITE thing about Big Cities."
"The traffic?" Guesses Sock.
Big Cities are often made up of small neighborhoods. And if you're in a City long enough, you discover each of these neighborhoods has a distinct personality. Just like Lulu, Q, and Baby Brother make a family, but you each have your own personality. Today Mommy took Sock to The Heights. It was funky and fun and full of things you would have liked to see!
Sock wanted a ride in the Cataillic, parked in front of the Venus Hair Salon.
Not today, Sock. You might be mistaken for a cat toy!
"Look, Sock, the King!"
"Where?? I don't see anyone wearing a crown." Says Sock.
Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll!
Can you find Sock hiding in the Cowboy boots?
All packed for the trip home.
Grandpapa, Mommy, and Sock spent 19 hours traveling from Houston to Spokane...just 2 days before Christmas!
But it was worth it.
Because we love Lulu, Q, and Little Brother so much, and there's no where we'd rather be for Christmas. And every day after that...