Friday is a two-Ambien night. Sleep is deep and black and divine.
Saturday! The party. Georgia is at your feet in no time. "Mommy! I'm 3! I'm 3 years old!"
"You are. Do you feel any different?"
"Are you sure?"
"No, I don't feel anything. Everything feels exactly the same." She looks concerned.
"Well, even if you can't feel it, it's real," you say, newly expert in the matter.
Edward comes in and lifts Georgia up and she is so happy and the party will be great.
Everyone will come with a bigger gift than they had planned—at the last minute they will tape something extra on the top: a recorder, a ponytail holder, a My Little Pony. Claire will also get a pile of gifts. In an hour, Georgia will blow out her candles and there will be wrapping paper everywhere and the goody bags that complement the paper plates will be torn through and it'll all be on film and toward the end, after about half the people have left and the afternoon is drifting toward 5 o'clock, you will open a bottle of Chardonnay and the remaining mothers will gather around and fill little polka-dot paper cups and you will all stand in the sun and look at each other and your children and shake your heads and make that little laugh sound you make when you don't know what else to say, the little sound that says "didn't see this coming" and you will lean into one of them and feel that tiny contraction in your throat that means you're going to cry and you will decide to let it come, it's really okay now, because Georgia is running in circles on the back deck with her new butterfly wings on and a hot pink helium balloon tied to each wrist and needs absolutely not one more thing from you.
Kelly Corrigan—now cancer-free—is the creator of CircusofCancer.org and the author of the New York Times best-seller The Middle Place (Voice).