Way back when...in the beginning of the clinical trial, before Susan had any real difficulties, we talked about "graduation day" with awe, reverence, hope...and optimism.
Way back when...I envisioned an enveloped filled with small gift cards -- to places Susan has never eaten -- The Bent Fork (a small, but incredible bakery near our house), Dairy Queen, Baskin Robbins, Frost, Culver's, Jolly Good Fellows Sweet Boutique, Dunkin' Donuts...and maybe some gift cards for interesting ethnic restaurants thrown in for good measure.
I think we thought it seemed like something truly incredible would happen between then and now.
And while something "truly incredible" has happened, our awe, reverence, hope and optimism have been tempered by the reality of the past eighteen months. While I tell myself that today should be even more meaningful because of the difficult road we have traveled, in reality, "graduation day" does not feel like the accomplishment I hoped it would...and I fear Susan feels the same way.
In the past two months, I have purchased nearly half a dozen graduation cards -- for my nephew's high school graduation, my good friend's son's high school graduation, a former sitter's graduate school graduation, and my sister-in-law's niece's college graduation.
Of course, I didn't go buy all of those cards all at once (that would have been too organized!), and so over the past two months, I have stood in the graduation card section of Target, Walgreens, CVS and Jewel.
Each time, I have contemplated purchasing a graduation card for Susan.
And each time, although I had Susan's upcoming graduation in the back of my mind as I browsed cards, I never saw anything that seemed "just right."
I have never wondered why I couldn't find a "just right" graduation card -- I am sure it is because of all of the mixed emotions that come with today's "graduation." While I know, and Susan knows -- and the doctors and clinical trial coordinators know -- and even most of those who have followed Susan's peanut eating journey know that while Susan never achieved the tolerance desired through the clinical trial, she has still accomplished something truly significant.
I spent a lot of time pondering the coincidence of the timing of Susan's graduation from the clinical trial and graduations in general before I made the resolve to purposefully shop for a graduation card for Susan.
It took three stops: CVS, Walgreens and then Target -- where eventually I found a card that felt "just right."
I have decided that even though we are not done with Susan's peanut eating journey, I am not going to let that take anything away from today. I am taking her card, filled with small gift cards...and a small gift bag with us to the clinical trial today.
I don't know if Susan will be surprised...but I think she will be.