The last chapter… sort of.

Today’s N&R article about my family and cancer was hard to read, especially the things my children told reporter-turned-friend Maria Johnson.  Things that have slipped through the cracks and seeped into the seams of my family’s lives over the past year.  Things that seemed trivial at the time… but really aren’t.

Yeah, I know 16 year-old Jackson has been dropping not-so-subtle hints that he needs a new pair of tennis shoes now that the weather has turned too cold for his old Birkenstocks… I just keep telling him, “…maybe next week“.  Also, it’s been hard watching him stand on the sidelines while Grimsley keeps rolling toward a state football championship.  “He’s lost so much weight...”, head coach Shuping said in a concerned phone call shortly after practice started last August.  What if we had taken him to the doctor sooner?  Could a phsychologist have saved his place in the starting line-up?

Both of Jesse’s siblings had braces by the time they were his age, and truth is, he needs them worse than the other two.  He keeps asking… we keep stalling.  The damn things cost $5,000, and we couldn’t get a loan to pay for them if our lives depended on it.  Our credit is shot.  If you must know, none of us have even been to the dentist in about a year and a half – that’s considered discretionary spending right now.

Jesse takes things in stride for the most part, and he has grown up a lot in the past year.  But he’s the sensitive one and clings more to Jinni and I now than he ever did when he was younger.

Reading about how we raided Josie’s savings was harder than actually doing it.  You do what you have to do, y’know.  She’s been the one who has worked her butt off to save up to buy a 1967 Mustang once she turns 16 on her birthday after next.  Through all of this, she’s been the most understanding of all.  “It’s OK dad…”, she’ll say, “I can wait.”

The other night, I went with she and Jackson to a pot luck dinner for members and boosters of Grimsley’s marching band.  After the dinner they handed out packets explaining the particulars of the band’s upcoming spring trip to Florida.  Bottom line: $500 per child.  Josie sat down next to me reading over my shoulder. “…maybe we can qualify for some sort of a scholarship.“, she’d say.  “We’ll find a way...”, I answered.

But to read the headline of Maria’s article in this morning’s N&R makes it all worth it: I had cancer.

So… while money is still tight, and while our mortgage company is threatening foreclosure (they’re NOT getting this house), and while we continue to drive ancient automobiles – I’ve still got my girlfriend and my kids still have their mom. 

As for the rest of it, we’ll work it out.


Here’s the whole N&R published series of Jinni’s Journal.  My blog entries about the cancer year can all be found at “What’s Up With Jinni“.  Maria’s previous Hoggard-centric article is here.

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