Brooke Conley’s “A Year of Firsts”

16 Oct

Brooke Conley, Chip would have leapt at the chance to pour some sugar on you!! Thank you for always getting it right when you write about Chip and giving me the gift of your words. I missed seeing you this birthday weekend but am grateful Chip brought us together (and that you are still championing the ‪#‎selfawareness‬ cause). – Sheila

Brooke’s new blog post:

A YEAR OF FIRSTS

My birthday is a few days away, which in my younger years signaled the start of a week-long party filled with the types of shenanigans that are forever locked in a memory vault titled Shit You Do Before Kids. These days, there are no t-shirts to mark the occasion or requests for the DJ – there is simply reflection and gratitude. (Although if someone made me a shirt, I wouldn’t be mad about it.)

This year is particularly bittersweet because it’s the first without my dear friend Chip. Every year since we left the Beltway, I’ve traveled back to D.C. for my birthday weekend. I even managed to make it the year I had an actively nursing 5-month-old baby girl. I packed up my breast pump and my postpartum depression, stocked the freezer with four days worth of milk, and left her in Arizona with her daddy. Clearly there wasn’t much that could keep me away.

My favorite part of the weekend was a long lunch with Chip, where we looked forward to recapitulating the previous twelve months in one sitting. As the years wore on, our conversations turned more reflective as we added spouses, kids, career changes and, ultimately, cancer to our list of things to discuss. Our last lunch was difficult because he was ill from chemotherapy and unable to eat. But he still showed up.

Chip always showed up.

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