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The visit with the otolaryngologist was one of two highlights of my day in my life on an island in the Pacific. The other highlight was watching Venus Williams win her quarterfinal match on an island in the Atlantic, the center of the tennis universe this week.

The young doctor whom we visited this afternoon was knowledgeable and patient. We have been lucky with Ellen’s pediatricians and specialists. Not a one has ever looked pained or put out by my questions. I don’t know what heartened me more today — the doctor telling us about his success rate with his patients or that he himself has a six-year-old child. It was one of those moments when you think, “Yes, he gets it. A child means everything.”

For Ben and me, even minor surgery is a decision that needs research, consultation, time to process. It’s likely we’ll go for tubes in Ellen’s ears. We want her to hear well when she enters first grade, to continue to hold her own, to master the two languages she speaks so well for a young kid.

New Ellen picture

When I returned to work, I saw a friend, the spouse of a friend who ran a marathon last year. It was on his bucket list and he did it. I said to my friend I had only three things left on my bucket list: to run 20 marathons (I’m at 17), visit Hilo, and be one of Ellen’s two biggest cheerleaders when she graduates from college.

Venus Williams has already won five Wimbledon singles titles. At 36, she made it to the semifinals today, a minor miracle given that her last appearance in a Wimbledon final was in 2009. Is another final on Venus’ bucket list? My guess is yes because she plays her heart out with a champion’s belief she can still make it very far. Thank you, Venus, for defying the odds and doing it so gracefully. I hope my daughter takes after you.

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