Timeline of Life

This is my seventh year as a Lower El Montessori Mom. Lower El meaning the 6-9 age group, first through third grade. You know spring is approaching when you walk the halls of the classrooms and start to see timelines of life appear on the walls. This year was no different, except it was.

Beginning with the first day of school, every year, the Lower El kids learn about timelines through stories. Stories that explain all different events that make us who we are and how we came to be where we are today. Once the idea is firmly planted, the kids get to bring pictures of themselves to school and write a bit of a story about that time in their life. They can choose any time frame, though typically it’s one for each year of their life. This is the beginning of their Timeline of Life.

Gregory has needed his pictures for quite sometime, now. I have been dreading the act of sitting down with him to pick out one picture from each year of his life. The years he was sick and his body was fighting like hell to keep his organs and his new marrow. Then there are the years before cancer. The emotions attached to those years are weird. Looking back on them I want to feel like I should have had a premonition. I look through those photos looking for signs. Just so you know…… I never find them. There are not any to be found.

At Gregory’s age of 7, I get to fill in the memories from past years. He does remember somethings from more recent years, but anything beyond 3 is pretty much up to me to let him know what was going on. Guess what? I can’t access those memories. Not without a solid representation of something in an image or someone else around me who remembers moments. I look at some of those images before cancer and wonder…. what the hell was going on there! Despite the fact that I can look at any one of Curtis or AnnMare’s  pictures from past years and remember exactly what was going on. Gregory before cancer is a complete blur.

He and I finally sat down and picked out eight pictures last night. His Timeline of Life was inspired by a memory from Christmas. Katie, his bone marrow donor, sent him a telescope for Christmas. He was so freaking excited about it that we immediately put it together and tried it out in the snow. Along with the snapping shutter of my cell phone. This is the memory and image he wanted to build his timeline from. Which translated into finding pictures of Gregory from the month of December, every year that he has been alive.

I am excited to see what Gregory’s timeline will look like and how he will articulate what he remembers and what I have shared with him about the pictures from his younger years. For posterity I have shared the images below along with description of my own. I really should do this with each kid. Alas, I do not have digital images prior to 2002. Curtis would have several years not represented. Still might do it, anyway.

Gregory’s Timeline of Life. Through my eyes.

You spooked me, Ma!

December 2005 – Six months old. Not many pictures for this month and a select few of Gregory.  Seriously. Three OffSpring under the age of 7. Enough said.

More! I want MORE!

December 2006 – 18 months  This kid! He enjoys strong coffee and stout beer! A kid after my own heart.

Clifford, Dragon Tales,

December 2007 – 2 years, 6 months Christmas pajamas and Christmas presents. A PBS programming inspired computer game. Remember those? When our kids actually played on a PC?

How much flour can I get on myself?

December 2008 – 3 years, 6 months              The last December before cancer. Until recently this spot of kitchen counter has been Gregory’s spot. He has LONG been my shadow. Making chocolate chip cookie bars for Santa Clause.

Really? I'm in so much pain, I'll pretend I'm excited.

December 2009 – 4 years, 6 months             Yep. Christmas 2009 Gregory was inpatient. He had just had his G Tube placed. Little did we know that we wouldn’t be comfortable out of the hospital until Valentine’s Day.

Look at me 'write'!

December 2010 – 5 years, 6 months              Our first American Childhood Cancer Organization reunion party. Our first big outing where there was a sense of security. Kid was still on steroids, though.

No! I don't wanna leave!

December 2011 – 6 years, 6 months      Another December in the hospital. This time, outpatient clinic. *whew*
Although, it is another December with very few pictures.

OMGosh! This is so freaking awesome.

December 2012              7 years, 6 months     The telescope. The excitement. The flourishing of a Montessori kid.


About Mindi Finch

Living with Magnificence. Kicking Childhood Cancer's Ass.
This entry was posted in Childhood Cancer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Timeline of Life

  1. Benedicte Symcox says:

    Oh the journey you have had, Gregory! The life you have lived in these short few years… you are an old hand at this living, where so many of us reach grey hair and are yet babies. You, Gregory, The Greginator have so, so much to give the world, the universe. Keep looking at those stars, because as far as they may be, you will go further on your own path! ❤

  2. sue franks says:

    I feel sorry for your child for having cancer. I feel sorry for you. A client sent me this blog link saying “Please don’t let me become her!” I am a counselor. You need to see someone. Your family does. Do you realize the child you almost lost is with you, but you have lost your other children. Do you have overflowing bullition boards of the art work? Do you ever refer to Gregg as “The Offspring”? Get some help sweetie and claim what is your more precious gift alive…not just one child. But, all your children. Most importantly yourself. You have let HIS experience become YOUR identity. Then there is the issue of your husband….I am surprised he is not just “The Sperm Donor” by now.

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