Piper loves us. It’s true. She told us in a note:
Because all you need is loev, right?
When Piper grows up I want her to be like Katie. This is Katie.
Photo by Grant Ross.
Katie is fierce and strong. She’s beautiful and kind. She’s the most positive woman I’ve ever known. She’s grateful and gracious. She is beloved. And Katie may die very soon.
I met Katie in childbirth class when I was pregnant with Sissy, Piper’s older sister. Katie’s laugh and her smile drew me in. She was hopeful for a natural birth. She was sure her plan would work. Katie went into labor first. When her son Will was born, we went to visit them in the hospital. I stood teetering nine months pregnant, waiting for my turn. Katie grabbed my hand and said, “Take the meds! Take everything they’ll give you!” And we laughed and laughed at the control we thought we’d have over birth and life and death.
Katie’s laughter and light are contagious. Her heart is huge. She was the friend Piper’s dad needed when he needed a friend the most. Piper’s dad, Joe, and Katie were stay at home parents together for a year after Sissy and Will were born. They were in the trenches together, navigating library story hours, bottles, diapers, and growth charts. Katie invited Joe into a circle of moms that didn’t really want to have a dad around. That’s what Katie does. She reaches out. She brings you in. They braved their mutual diagnosis together, Katie with cancer and Joe with multiple sclerosis, with babies on their hips. And they took care of each other’s babies when doctor’s appointments and treatments and life got in the way.
Last year, after a roller coaster ride with cancer, Katie and her husband came to visit. Katie wanted to see D.C. before her next round of chemo. She wanted to walk around the monuments and visit the White House. Katie loves her country and God. She wanted to see us, too. So we spent a glorious night together eating, laughing, and loving maybe for the last time.
Yesterday, Katie’s husband, who has been writing about their battle to save Katie’s life, asked us simply to pray for peace. He feels like the luckiest guy in the world to have had the chance to love Katie this long. You should read about Katie’s Story here.
If I could hope for anything for my daughters, for Piper and Sissy, and for Katie’s kids, Will and Jessica, it would be that they have Katie’s courage and capacity for love and laughter, that they are brave and bold, and that they find strength, friendship, and peace along their path.
I cleaned out the car yesterday. Here is a list of things Sissy and Piper left in the backseat:
7 used kleenexes
12 discarded lollipop sticks
4 half eaten granola bars
2 empty water bottles
17 unidentifiable objects
and 1 note written from Sissy to Piper…
…that made me forget the rest of the mess.
Piper has never met a carbohydrate she didn’t love. To get in her good graces, you just need to serve up pasta. Piper prefers spaghetti.
Tonight she stacked her meatballs high and sprinkled on the parmesan.
“There’s only one thing in the whole world better than spaghetti and meatballs and parmesan,” Piper declared.
“What’s that?” I asked, twirling the marinara love.
We haven’t yet broken it to Piper that Justin Beaver and Selema Gonez have broken up. Nor have we told her their real names. I’m not sure she even knows that they’re real people. They are just the background chatter on Disney Junior. They’re the beautiful people that you see staring back at you from the cover of People when you’re mom drags you to the grocery store. That doesn’t stop the Justin Beaver and Selema Gonez analogies though.
“Their love is like a volcano with no water,” Piper told the babysitter last night. She may be onto something there. Maybe she knows about the break up after all.
At bath time Piper tipped her toe in the warm water and declared “That water’s hotter than Selema Gonez!” The water cooled. Piper was cleaned. Then she had to get out of the tub. “Well, now I’m as cold as Selema Gomez!” she said, shivering in her towel.
“You know,” Sissy said, “They broke up. Justin and Selena. They aren’t together anymore.”
“Well,” Piper answered, “I’m just going to have to make up a song about that. So there.”