Sunday, February 22, 2009

Week with Daughter

It's been a while since I posted. Last week, Daughter and the Girl's parents were here. Weeks like those are so hard to describe; regular life seems to stand still. Daughter came out from the customs clearance area at the airport, looking her old self. She ran over to me and we hugged for a few minutes. I'm sure everyone was staring at us.

How strange and wonderful to see her again. When she was younger, I knew every detail of her life. Her entire frame of reference was shaped by me. We would take walks together every day, read books at the library, tell stories at night. I had such a simple life back then and she fit in perfectly. One of my favorite memories is still picking her up from day care on my way home from school. Every time, we would do the same thing on the way home. She had to balance on the same wall, climb halfway up an old anchor and look at fish through the window at the pet store.

Slowly, things changed. The hellish intern year and the divorce. When Ex-wife first moved out, my mind and body were in full rebellion. It became obvious then that there wasn't much else in my life other than the kids. But things changed slowly. People I didn't know began taking care of the kids.

Then the Girl came into my life. At least for a while, she was more important than the kids. We were so in love and I will never forget that time. But the kids were pushed onto the back burner and I slid a little farther out of their lives.

Then came a time when I had the kids twice a week. We had some great nights, playing, hiking and swimming. I no longer knew everything in their lives; I didn't know how they were doing in school. I only knew their friends as names.

And then we moved. We'll see if it turns out to be the biggest mistake in my life. Very often, it feels like a mistake. Talk about a personal crisis those first weeks, I was ready to jump on the first plane back to Wisconsin.

But. In 5 months, Daughter is coming to live here, and maybe that's the part that makes all this worth while. This week, it seemed a little like the old days. We went to the library and found a book that we read together and talked about. We went to museums that we would discuss at night before going to bed. She had a million questions about Denmark and about life that I tried to answer. She has a life in Wisconsin I know increasingly little about, but this week, it felt like I was able to direct everything new that was fed into her brain.

5 months is a long time, of course, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I feel fast right now.

Our lives have fallen into a rhythm that sees me running more at night. We are too busy to run together during the week, so it works better for me to run at night. I have found a route, where I run 5 minute intervals with 2 minute breaks. I have run that same route five times and gotten considerably faster every time.

The weight is slowly coming off but it has really taken some serious dieting. I was down to 65.7 this morning. Hoping to see 64 next week at which point I will consider the diet complete.

Last night, the legs were so smooth and fast. It's been a while since I have felt this good. I will be curious to see how I fare in competition. Now watch me get injured, of course.

We signed up for the Transalpine race and are getting really excited. Since we are running as a couple, the Girl will be the deciding factor. We do have to find a way for me to push or pull her, though. That will take some strange training sessions, probably running intervals with my hand on her butt. It's 8 days of running, from Germany to Italy (through Austria and Switzerland).

Work is okay. I still feel unprepared. Last weekend, I was at a weekend retreat for young hematologists and was told that my department was notorious for poor supervision. So it's not just me.

One patient encounter still creeps me out. I was seeing a 41-year old woman with lung cancer. It was apparently my job to inform her that her cancer was now everywhere in her body. That her chemo hadn't worked at all, and that she most likely just had a few months left. Naturally, a young woman like that has a million questions and needed someone with more experience than me. It was terrible to be in that room, listening to myself stumble over words. Her type of cancer can be very responsive to a new kind of targeted therapy so I am crossing my fingers she will get some months or, even, years from that.

And. Daughter is turning 8 tomorrow. Exactly 8 years ago, my ex-wife was going into labor during the biggest snow storm of the year. We walked outside to bring out the contractions. Tomorrow at 8:38 it's 8 years since Daughter was born. She looked around with wonder for that first lucid hour, while I kept her warm under my shirt. She has been a daddy's girl ever since, even now, with the Atlantic between us. She is visiting in 10 short days and I can't wait.