That was a long stretch. I went in with a glimmer of hope that it’d be easier, but it was not. Bloody noses were cut down from 15+ to about 3, so that’s good. But other than that everything was the same. Hard, long, unrelenting.

But I’m out of bed now, had a wonderful day out in the world yesterday. We went to Francis Ford Coppola winery, which has an incredible resort-like pool nestled in the vineyards. We had gone two years ago with the entire Riener family was out in California, as a celebration for John’s birthday, which he shares with my niece Isabella. It’s starting to feel like a tradition (join us next year!). Bocce ball, swimming, lovely drinks and food poolside, relaxing on plush lounge chairs… I was worried that I’d still have a couple side effects lingering to disrupt my day, but things either disappeared or took the day off. I was able to eat a sandwich and have lemonade, and mustered the energy to swim twice and watch a little bocce from the shade. So lovely.

Now we ready for the first day of school. John has Rennie at junior high orientation, Tess is headed for a haircut and a school visit to see the class lists. I’m excited to have these next two weeks of normalcy, although I fear I may be pushing myself faster this week in order to get more time. I don’t want to take it easy today, I want to run errands and get my life back. Amazing to be in a place where I cherish going to the grocery store or sorting the mail.

It’s also funny that getting back to school means starting to expand the circle of people who know what’s going on with me, and going through the news at a new level. After the pool yesterday we stopped at the Market in the center of town; John ran in to grab things for dinner, I stayed outside to chat with Donnie who was also waiting while her husband ran in. Then I saw Susan, then Brian, then Tiffany, then Beth, John came back out with Erika. Tiffany saw me in my bright Buff and asked “Are you going incognito?” She hadn’t heard anything. This morning I read an email from another mom I know from school who had heard something but clearly the game of telephone was a long one: she thought I was recovering from surgery. Tomorrow morning after drop off at the elementary school the PTA will host a free coffee break for parents to meet and chat and catch up. I haven’t missed one since we’ve been at the school. But there will be a whole new round of delivering the news, answering questions, watching the pity faces… Part of me wants to stay away so I can hold on to the feeling of normal I can fool myself into if I avoid mirrors and overlook texts from concerned family. But there is something to be said for getting it over with, letting people know up front what’s going on with me and trying to carry on through it.

Get through the pity faces to normal ones.