23 January 2012

Swanky Science

Blogging, even intermittently as I seem to do these days, has brought me the good fortune of friendships with so many interesting people in the computer.  Some I've actually met in real life; others I've come to know through words and images online.  Susan, who blogs at Toddler Plant, is someone I've only ever met online, but her words and passions have touched my heart and challenged my thinking so often since I first started reading her. Her blog started as a chronicle of her life as a planetary scientist and mother of two young children, and then became transformed into the story of her life fighting inflammatory breast cancer, and being a planetary scientist, activist, and mother.  She's graceful, smart, funny, and simply amazing.  Reading her latest posts, including today's post about coming home from the hospital and getting ready to welcome her hospice worker, made me cry, and marvel yet again at her astounding grace and eloquence. 

It also reminded me that I'd never blogged Curious Girl's 8th birthday party, which I was able to have only because of Susan.  She writes a lot about doing science at home with her kids, and writes a lot encouraging all of us to show kids how science is fun.  In 2010, Stimey organized a virtual science fair to help support Susan as she went in for her 3rd surgery:
 I hope she knows that she is not alone. I hope she knows that even though we can't all be there in person, we are thinking of her, sending love, good wishes, and prayers. 
That is what Team WhyMommy's Virtual Science Fair is all about. We want her to know that she is loved and supported. But we also want her to know that our love and support is not all because of the cancer. We love and support her because of who she is, not just because of what she has. She is not just a cancer fighter, but an incredible person, one who is passionate about science and especially women who do science.
I didn't do a virtual science fair entry, but I showed some of the entries to Curious Girl, and she wanted to do those activities.  And so, the Swanky Science Birthday Party got planned.   Swanky, because CG wanted a fancy party, and science, because of Susan.  And who says scientists can't be fancy?  So off we went to get fancy tea cups at a thrift store, and off we went to find some great science activities.  We played with vinegar, food coloring, and baking soda to make gas swell up ziploc bags (and sometimes break them open).  We made ooblek.  We made bubbles.  And we laughed, and ate, and enjoyed a beautiful spring day.

I hate watching cancer sap the energy of someone so wonderful, even as I marvel at the outpouring of love and affection.  But I know that the curiosity of children, and the oohs and ahs of young girls playing with materials to see what will happen, will bring to mind memories of Susan.

Tonight, my heart is full of love for her and her family.


Magpie said...

It's perfect.

liz said...


Rev Dr Mom said...

I've been reading Susan's blog for several years; she's shown such grace and fortitude on this journey! I ache for her and family, but you are right about the many memories she has fueled.