Date: February 23rd, 2011
Time: 8:30 AM PST
Info: In the fast paced world of Coast Guard communications it’s my job to teach the students on the correct ways to handle a distress call. That mariner’s call may come in from seasoned ship captain with a full load of ferry passengers and the lack of urgency in his voice dictates he has things under control but wants to inform the Coast Guard there is in fact an emergency on board. Other mariner calls may include those of a fourteen year old girl who has witnessed her father falling down a ladder, splitting his head open. Each call these young professionals will hear will always be different. However, the process in handling a mariner’s call for help is handled the same way – with calmness, confidence and competence. These young professionals learn a myriad of things before completing the course and on the first day of class I ask each and every one of them “Who among you believes they can multi-task?” Multi-tasking is a confusing term. The belief among many is that they can multi-task. Hell, they’ve all grown up in an age where they can watch television, text their friends, complete their homework and eat their dinner all at the same time. My response to them is this: “How many of you are mothers?” That response immediately quiets the room and with good reason. It’s my belief the only person (that I know of) that can multi-task proficiently is a mom. She can make dinner, answer the phone, feed the baby on her hip and catch the oldest boy trying to sneak out of the house – and yes – she does this proficiently time and again.
Juggling the daily chores of a household with two children, one away at college, another growing into a beauty of her own as a High School sophomore are all acquired traits we, as parents, learn to do together. We’re fortunate with our family. Very fortunate. I spent years away from the house riding those Coast Guard vessels, or as I refer to it: “Protecting our coastline” … which no one buys, but nonetheless, I did spend a lot of time away from the house while Bonnie was learning how to raise our two girls. She did a tremendous job and I credit her for 99.9% of how well our girls have done these past twenty years. Mothering is no easy task – I look at the list of Bonnie’s Boosters and nearly every woman on that list is a mother.
I called our friends on the Cape last night and forgot about the three-hour time change. Upon hearing Lara’s voice on the other end I immediately recognized my mistake. The reason for the phone call was to talk to her husband, my life long friend, shipmate, and fellow Bostonian who would give the shirt off his back to you without debate. They too have a beautiful family, with three kids and a wonderful home tucked away on the middle of the Vineyard. I wanted to talk about my entry yesterday about our friend who had passed away and by the time the call ended Lara had learned of Bonnie’s breast cancer. I felt like I took all the wind out of her sails and that really wasn’t the reason for my call.
As you’ve read, we have a new book in our library about surviving breast cancer. Uplift, written by Ms. Barbara Delinsky. The book has 17 chapters and I’m feeling like this blog of ours is running parallel with this book. Each day I visit her website to read a passage which is tremendously helpful. Reading what others have gone through in the same or similar circumstances gives me the hope I need to run this marathon we call “surviving breast cancer”. Today I want to share with you a passage from the chapter “Friends”:
Breaking the Ice
“As soon as I found out I had breast cancer, I called everyone I knew so that they would hear it from me directly and not feel weird talking about it with me. I also created a website to document my experiences, so that people who weren’t comfortable talking to me about it could learn what I was going through on their own terms. I had so many people calling on the phone that I couldn’t’ keep up with it all. So I changed my answering machine to say, “If you want o know what happened to Asha, press 1. If you want to know her treatment plan, press 2. If you want to know how she’s doing, press 3.’” – Asha Mevlana; diagnosed in 1999 at age 24; musician; New York.
Keep her close you guys.