Monday, November 28, 2011

The Rainbow Connection

Yesterday, I promised to take the kids to see "The Muppets," after spending much of the day curled up on the sofa watching Star Wars on SyFy network. It was a slow day. A slothy day. I haven't been feeling great with this round of chemo. Of course, there was a mix up with the oncologist and my Neulesta shot. I was told Friday that I'd get a call with the time to come in Sunday morning. Of course, they meant to say Saturday morning, and no one had called. What's the significance? Well, there are a few issues: 1) This isn't the first time there was a scheduling oversight that was chemo related. 2) The Neulesta shot, which boosts immunity to prevent infection and other complications while your resistance is as its lowest, is supposed to be administered within 24 hours of the chemo and 3) My daughter had the sniffles. So, late yesterday afternoon, just as "Return of the Jedi" was starting, I had to pile the grublings into the car to drive them to the pediatric urgent care center to spend $50 to get an ointment for my daughter's rash and to get the doctor to essentially confirm that she has the sniffles. The fun part? The rash prevents her from using hand sanitizer, as it burns, which creates some difficulty making sure she's "sterile" enough to be around me while I am going through chemo. Even more fun? She wouldn't be able to go to school the next day.

Since I'd clearly been exposed to her for hours on end, with this sniffle and rash, it seemed like it didn't matter anymore if I exposed myself to more grublings at "The Muppets," so, as planned, we went to Clearview Cinemas in Mount Kisco for the 6:45 pm show. We sat down, and, it was somewhat comforting to know that the reason the screen seemed so small isn't because I've outgrown the mystique of watching the Muppets on the big screen, but because they have slashed the screen sizes. I was pleasantly surprised by a greeting by an usher - kudos to the Mt. Kisco Cinema crew! - and the movie began.

Now, as someone tapped into pop culture, marketing, etc, I know as well as anyone that part of the reason this movie is going to be successful is that not only does it entertain kids, but it will appeal to those of us who grew up with the Muppets. It will play on our sentimentality, especially since our generation seems to still think that it was just yesterday we were watching "The Muppet Show" in our footie pajamas sitting on the floor of our living rooms on Thursday night. I anticipated being taken back to that time. I looked forward to having the feeling that I was joining my kids as one of their peers and getting lost into the magic of Jim Henson and Frank Oz.

Here's what I wasn't expecting: A complete melt down during interactions between Kermit & Miss Piggy, nor was I expecting the weeping session that followed "The Rainbow Connection."

There are certain groups of friends, brought together by various circumstances, that you envision will be cohesive, unified and together forever. High school classes, camp friends, work groups, etc. There are so many circumstances in life that bring people together, but we've all experienced those few that just "click" with us in such a way that a family is formed, rather than born, without any genetic ties. Just like The Muppets - a collection of critters and monsters from all walks of life - we assumed, as innocent children, that even long after we stopped watching The Muppets in turn to watch The Cosby Show, FRIENDS, and other shows, that they would carry one as one happy family, just for another generation. But we never imagined they'd break up. Who on earth would have ever conceived of the idea that Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog wouldn't speak for decades?

And so, as I'm watching this clearly painful rift between Kermit and Piggy, my heart broke, thinking of friendships damaged, a family I always thought was impenetrable split, in my mind, and missing people that should still be in my life.

As if that weren't difficult enough to sit through, while the child in me was still enthralled by The Muppet Magic, those first strums of the banjo brought the water works back. Not only was I reflecting on this particular friendship, for which this song has meaning, but I started listening to the lyrics. Listening really hard. And, as I sat back in my seat, feeling the itching of my short, red wig against my scalp, feeling achy from the chemo, and getting frustrated with some of the blurriness I'd been experiencing since my last round of chemo on Friday, I realized that I wasn't sure there was still a Rainbow Connection anymore. I never thought that Kermit doubted the rainbow, but was just questioning its mystique. But, as I fight cancer, as I feel like I'm losing control, and definitely not like an innocent child anymore, I found myself questioning anything and everything magical. I was questioning hope. Can there be any? Is it worth it?

WWKD? What Would Kermit Do?

No, I was one of the lovers and the dreamers. I always was. But, wow, it was a scary moment when I started questioning the hope that I always thought was inherent in me.

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