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in my words

my birthday

wow. what a day. i am a sponge for love and i am feeling it today. the smile is coming from the inside. pure and simple. at the beach with my mom and the kids. lots of friends dropping by.  so many sending birthday wishes. the ocean swim was perfection. me and aiden. beautiful lunch with the girls. and some boys. and i’m feeling like a lucky lady.

i am now 42.

it’s been just over a month since i began the chemo. back then as i was mentally preparing myself for the first round. such an unknown. i was gathering my strength. thinking of it like a fight. ready to protect myself from the toxins. that’s what i was calling it back then. toxins. but it’s not what i call it now. now i call it a treatment. that’s what it says in my calendar on a friday every three weeks. treatment 1. treatment 2. and so on until treatment 6. and it really is. a full body deep cleansing treatment. every cell in my body is getting a chance to regenerate. new cells replacing the old ones. its what our bodies do naturally. at a somewhat slower pace the older we get. but because of the chemo, my cells just have to work a little harder. more of them forced to rebirth. my hair. starting over. my skin cells. same thing. that’s why i can’t go in the sun. i have the skin of a newborn. and i need to protect it. learning as i go. essentially each treatment leads to a birthday for all of my cells. i choose to see it that way. i swear if you look at me, my skin looks 10 years younger than before the first treatment. this is what cancer looks like. this is what 42 looks like.

i am now 42

and spending this day. this weekend. at the beach. doing the things i love. with my room of shade that jason found. with a beautiful fire island crew in a cabana in kismet. dinner at le dock in fair harbor. beautiful lunch in dunewood. it has been the best birthday.

lesley gave me my birthday present friday night at visionfest. in tribeca. jamie’s movie premiere.  she gave me some bracelets. a symbol of strength. strong women. good wishes for me. from her. my fabulous friend. and there were at least a dozen. more than i could add to my summer cuffs. and i had this idea. i wanted to give some of the bracelets to my circle of strong women. offer single bracelets as tokens of my love. bracelets so much a symbol of good energy for me. so profound in my life. good juju.

i started giving them out. to my girls. my community. my circle. my strength. lesley is wearing one. donna. and tara. and susan and susan. and melissa and tori and emma.  lesley is bringing me more because my circle is large. and i love bracelets. and yesterday morning giuliano walked up the beach to fair harbor. he is only 2 treatments away from finishing his chemo. 6 months of it. and he looks amazing. we were sitting on the beach. in the room of shade. and he was telling me about a fundraiser he had gone to for the morgan house. a preschool for kids who have cancer. named after a girl. morgan. now a young teenager. had cancer as a kid. too many germs at a regular preschool for kids in treatment. and this place on long island is free. and we were talking. and i started making a bracelet. my first of the summer. jude was helping. grey with one yellow bead. yellow with one grey. soulcycle colors. and i love me some soulcycle.

beading on the beach. i could do it all day long. my friends do it. we make each other bracelets. billy has on the one i made him last year. lisa too. tho emma needs to work some magic on that one. kids on the beach come join me. some i know. others i meet. and sometimes my kids sell them at sunset. from a red wagon. and next to all the other baked goods and shells and beach jewelry. this weekend tori joined in with her daughter. and susan g. and even jason and leo. and of course the girls on the beach. some boys too.

and suddenly it all became so clear. this summer. when we form a beach circle. we will make sets of bracelets. one solid color with a single bead of a different color. and then the matching pair in reverse colors. one with tiny beads. sets of 5 bracelets. the buyer can keep one and give the rest to friends. we will sell them at the bay. emma and some girls will even set up a bead camp. look after littler ones for a couple of hours. emma who took a babysitting class at the red cross. megan will help. and olivia and molly. and maybe alice. and my boys will pitch in. maybe look after the little guys. or bead, too. all the details being worked out right now. and my daughter’s middle name is morgan. and at the end of the summer. all the money we make from bead camp. from selling bracelets. we will donate to the morgan house. so simple. so powerful. full circle. beach circle. beach circle bracelets.

first beading beach circle of summer 2011

i am in the process of incorporating a not-for-profit in new york. i am now. my idea to provide grants to people NOW. people who are doing things now to make their community. their city. their environment. well, a better place. the idea in my head would be something like funding a project to deliver klean kanteens to kids in a neighborhood with unsafe water. yes, that exists in our country. eliza and alli and their crew at dalton coming up with ideas for a chapter at their school. ideas big and amazing. it is all coming into place. one perfectly timed step at a time. ideas about how to fundraise. forming. developing. partnerships. big dreams. little things. and then i heard about the morgan house. and we were on the beach. and we were making our first bracelets of the summer. and it became clear that the first official grant from i am now will go to the morgan house. and amanda knows morgan and her mom. and now i can reach out to her and tell her our plan for beach circle bracelets and summer 2011.

and i have bags and bags of beads. cluttered together all winter. and for years passed. and right now my daughter is hours and hours deep in the solution. in a project. a major project. and it is life changing for me. as always, it’s the little things. she is organizing all of my beads. and string. and leather. all our beach bags of summer beach jewelry making. overwhelmingly mixed together. but not for long. we have a renewed purpose about our beads this summer. summer 2011. we are – as olivia and molly called it – beading for better.

birthday bracelet from emma

i am now. 42. so touched by the birthday love. proud mommy. loyal friend. dreamer. hula hooper. obsessed with bracelets. beach bum. birthday girl.


About iamnowthejourney

i am a mom. an instructor at soulcycle. a poster girl for cancer. this is what 42 looks like. this is what cancer looks like. and i've never been better.


5 thoughts on “my birthday

  1. Happy happy birthday! xx H
    “Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are
    rewarded, or how much power you have.” -O.W.
    You are doing amazing things!

    Posted by hfelds | June 27, 2011, 8:05 pm
  2. LOVE IT.

    Posted by Ang | June 28, 2011, 10:03 am
  3. beautiful

    Posted by amy | June 28, 2011, 10:18 am
  4. I’m late but I’m here…wishing you a (nother) happy HAPPY day to celebrate you! I’m so grateful our paths have crossed.
    Big LOVE,

    Posted by Allison Hadar | June 29, 2011, 3:00 pm
  5. dear birthday girl, you gave me great smiles and lots of goosebumps reading this post. This bracelet story: a beautiful awakening and joining of love, caring, and giving. Perfect. A little insight into why your story resonates. I AM a beach girl, without a beach house, so getting there isn’t always the easiest. Perhaps I treasure it more for that fact. Two years ago I was blessed with the chance to live at the beach for 6 weeks. six! I start every sunrise with meditation, then yoga. My alone time. How amazing? One morning, in the quiet, I played with the sand by my side, letting the granules slide thru my fingers, digging a bit deeper each time. Then I hit buried treasure. One bead. A larger one. Lots of tiny ones. Pinks and purples and turquoise. That spot had been waiting for me to arrive, to give of its treasure. Peaceful with the power and beauty of sand, sea, and sky, alone in the place I love most, was a gift given silently to me. This discovery gently but showed me how another had shared this space and perhaps loved what I love. We are alone, even very happily at peace with being alone. Yet, strings of beads, grains of sand string us together through breezes and waves and clouds. The feeling mingled with the breeze and seemed as large as the great horizon before me. Seeing you sitting in your shade house, imagining the sea’s breeze flowing thru, children and friends sitting together, beading, giving. That’s why I had chills. These are the most beautiful moments life has. By the sea.

    From one summer baby to another, Happy Birthday. May you be blessed; may your life be filled with moments of love and joy and peace. As the wind from the sea. A rebirth each day.

    Posted by Rima Berzin | July 5, 2011, 11:48 am

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