A couple of weeks ago, I had a moment. A moment that helped me understand where I am. (Not like Where’s Waldo, a different space altogether.)
It was a Tuesday or maybe a Thursday night (I can thank my many rounds of chemo for my complete lack of short term memory!) Anyway, I digress. It was a weeknight and my oldest son had a baseball game. It was touch and go as far as weather that night. And usually, the hubs takes him to the games early but for some reason, I volunteered. OK – If I am being really honest here, I thought to myself better to sit in the car than do dinner with the girls? (Exhaustion due to daily radiation treatments was rearing it’s ugly head!) So, we pulled up to the ball park only to have lightening and thunder abound immediately. We were told the teams were “waiting it out”. So, with the air conditioning blowing and me and my little man in the front seat – small talk began. It didn’t take long before we were laughing our butts off. Whether it was a very funny fart joke, an oh, ohh we need to find out who sings this song or just our summer dream list – we sat comfortably. And 15 minutes into it, another lightening strike and another 15 minute delay. And more fart jokes, maybe even a little talk of crop dusting too, a few more good songs and for me a genuine love of hanging with my oldest son. We had no where to be but here, right now. Had the skies not opened we would have missed out on this chance to just “be”. Sometimes I forget what awesome little humans the hubs and I have. We have been blessed.
The game never did happen that night but I got to have that illusive one on one time with my oldest son. Now here is where living with cancer mom and regular mom differ – as we drove home in the back of my mind all I could think was, “When I am not here, will he remember this time?” Will this stick in his memory? Will he remember the songs or the jokes with a smile? As a mom living with metastatic breast cancer, I sometimes feel as though I am “shooting” my life from afar. That I am hurrying up and making as many memories as possible, because that other shoe, well it’s going to fall at some point.
“No rest for the weary,” as my mom used to say. Sometimes when I am jonesing for a nap because the most recent treatments have got me begging for mercy – I can’t help but think, “No time for a nap Mama, buck up”. Or when my arms are swelling up like balloons with a heavy ache called lymphedema and it’s time to plant the garden, “Buck up lady, you only have so much time”. Or when it is a sunny, beautiful day at the lake and my energy is zapped to a point where getting off the couch would be a minor miracle, “Come on Mama, get it together”. That type of pressure is too much to carry. It’s exhausting, debilitating. And well, it’s ok to NOT be ok! And there’s no perfect way to shoot this life, hell, if there was I wouldn’t be living with cancer right now! When I think back on my best times with my mom, my dad and my brother – they were insanely imperfect. They were the unexpected s**t shows that created the best memories and the easiest laughs. Now that they are all gone – it is all I have. And all I can think is, gosh I hope they didn’t feel that pressure – because it sucks!
So, for the first time in a really long time, waiting out the rain in our little red car, we had no place to be. It was okay for me to sit there and laugh and take in my oldest human’s awesome, funny, silly soul. There was no disappointment in myself that I couldn’t clean this or do that. We were “here” and that was A-OK. It was an incredible lesson for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those overly optimistic people who will say, “cancer came into my life and caused all this good”. It did not. And the people the disease has taken from me and my family has been devastating. But – I can’t help but think would “pre cancer Kate” appreciate these very small things? Would she even notice? Or would she be so wrapped up in the day-to-day rat race that these items wouldn’t matter at all? Or maybe pre-cancer me would’ve become enlightened by now? Found my “Zen”? That whole “Butterfly effect” thing is a crazy worm hole. Maybe things happen for a reason? And I’m not talking about the cancer either – I am talking about the thunder and lightening that day.