Being present

May 30

Yesterday I was challenged to come up with quality time for myself and the girls.  After they kicked off summer in a big way with NanaRoz and before they whirled off to their adventure weekend (camping with Daddy!), I had a few hours with them.  They have full calendars this week, but both of them have Mommy-Snuggle-Meters that must get filled up or else they start to get pretty wonky.  Maren begins to act like a sloth whenever she sees me and entangles her limbs with mine as soon as I hold still.  Greta, who holds it together for (most) everyone else, loses it and emotes in my direction if I haven’t been present enough for her.  I needed a quality time activity where I could both be present and engage with them, but also not tax myself. I turned to the reliable old television. I next-to-never watch TV with the kids.  When they are occupied, I see it as an opportunity to do something else in peace, and I always seize upon that opportunity.  Yesterday though, we snuggled together–me in the middle–and watched a movie together.  It’s funny how very intentional I had to be in that choice; Brad does that low-key time with them so much more naturally than I do.  I was delighted to find Honey, I Shrunk the Kids on Amazon Prime, and the three of us giggled and snuggled our way through it.  It was probably one of the best two-hour “moments” I’ve had with them this month.  I highly recommend… See?  Giggling and snuggling through the funk.  Totally doable. After the movie, Brad rushing about packing the camping stuff, so I decided to assist by turning packing their clothes into a game.  “Okay girls, run to your room, get your overnight bag, and bring it back here.” They both ran off, got the bags, and deposited them in front of me. “Great!  You guys are awesome!” I coached.  “Next: one pair of pajamas and a hoodie.  Go!” “Two pairs of pants and two pairs of socks.  Go!” Everytime Greta came back, she was absolutely wiggling with glee.  She loves doing things where she feels like a big kid.  She also just picked her...

Read More

Wind on my face

May 27

Tonight I went for my evening stroll at sunset.  The sky was brilliantly beautiful and I so enjoy the routine of a quiet half-hour/hour to myself meandering my neighborhood.  As I walked tonight it was chilly enough that I wore a sweatshirt.  The wind picked up and my hair blew into my eye.  The implication it that my hair is long enough to blow into my face.  What a blessing; it felt like a whispered promise that good things are to come. Thanks for your encouragement and support with regard to my last post.  It means a lot.  You people really locked on to the high five thing; I think every message I got today included a high five! The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.  –Exodus...

Read More

A description of the funk

May 26

The Funk, as I’ve been calling it, is definitely legit this time around.  It looks like each cycle I’ll end up with a stretch of days where I’m feeling “funky”. Today I went in to the oncology office for my third round on this drug.  I saw my friends: Rockstar (my nurse partitioner), my nurses, my fellow patients, the support staff.  It was at a different office due to Memorial Day holiday yesterday, so it’s bigger, and it’s the one with the heated chairs. I’m finding it hard to describe the physical realities of the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of this drug.  I don’t want to sound pitiable, I don’t want to sound heroic.  I’m neither wimpy nor infused with super-powers.  I’m normal, and this is hard. When I’m feeling funky… -I look perfectly healthy and normal. -Physically, I feel achey and exhausted.  And by achey and exhausted, I mean ACHEY and EXHAUSTED. -Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, I generally “pause” because I save my good mojo for Brad and the girls.  It feels a bit like I’m underwater; my senses and perceptions are way off. -Working out, if I can muster the gumption, might make me worse.  Which, unfortunately, is a double whammy for my mental game.  This cycle I’m targeting an AM and a PM workout, even it is just a slow walk around the block (or even to the mailbox).  Prayerfully, it will make me feel better. -If it’s hard/stressful in normal times, it’s generally harder and more stressful in the funk.  Normal things continue: bills come, children puke, wasps make nests, weeds grow, pantry empties, and tantrums happen.  It is counter-intuitive because isn’t chemo enough?  But normal real life happens too. -I take and take and take from Brad.  He shoulders a lot. -There is no medication option.  There are not recommended drugs that both work to mitigate symptoms and don’t have adverse side effects.  I have to feel it at face value with no relief. -I’m lazy in my parenting.  I pick my battles.  I make choices for instant gratification rather than long term growth.  It takes a monumental amount of energy to be Fun Mommy for X minutes.  There is no way...

Read More

Keeping it real: normal

May 19

My friend asked me the other day, “Can you remember/imagine what it would be like be normal and to live without cancer in your life?” My answer, immediately, was “no”, and I went on with a lengthy explanation of how I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have this diagnosis around.  Cancer is and forever will be linked to this season in my life.  (Although I do still have these surreal moments — like waking up from a dream — where the burden settles and realize this is really my life.)  I concluded my answer to her question by saying, “I can’t imagine being normal.”  The words that came out didn’t sit right at the time, but I couldn’t figure out why.  It’s been humming in the back of my brain since, and I think I know why: Saying “I’m not normal” is actually the TOTAL OPPOSITE of how I really feel.  I feel like I’m totally normal; I just have this behemoth cancer situation to deal with on top of all of the other Life Things.   Like most of my friends, I generally feel like I’m getting it wrong most of the time.  I think I just give myself an abundance of grace and have perspective that no one gets the little things right all the time, and they don’t matter anyway.  And also my cancer makes normal (anyone’s normal, including my own) look bright and shiny and fabulous.  Normal is what I fight for, normal is amazing, but I’m not any better at the next person at being normal.  But still, it’s normal.  I’m normal.  Case(s) of my normalcy, submitted as evidence so you can see how very non-bright, non-shiny, and non-fabulous I can be in my normal moments. My phone’s glitch-of-the-week is that when I am on the phone, it shows me a page from my contact list instead of the usual mini-icon for “keypad”, “speaker”, “mute”, etc.  When I try to deal with my voluminous pile of “to do” things, including pay bills, I call the 1-800 numbers.  I cannot enter any menu options for the compu-bots who are taking over the world because my keypad is in the Bermuda Triangle.  I...

Read More

Motherhood

May 10

Motherhood

Today was a great day.  I would say I wobbled out of the chemo funk today… apparently a little funk is indeed going to be part of the routine with this drug regimen.  I’m okay with it: I’ll plan to have built-in rest time and will rally for moments that matter.  Let’s keep perspective: this is the routine I want to have for the next forty-six years, remember? Brad and the girls dazzled me with gifts and made me feel special all day.  Greta got to choose my flowers and she chose the ones that the florist bedazzled with glitter.  Seriously.  Real glitter.  (Why Florist, why?)  As such things go, they were obviously the perfectly authentic Mother’s Day flowers for me.  My favorite gifts were from the girls: they both told Brad what their favorite “Mommy-Kid date place” was, he drove them there, and they ordered and paid for their own gift certificates to present to me today.  You should have heard Greta’s pronunciation of “gift certificate.”  Completely adorable: gift cerdibigut.  (And that’s after a lot of practice with Brad and Maren.)  Greta and I will be going to our favorite local ice cream spot, and Maren and I will be going to our special coffee shop.  Both made it clear that these are to be one-on-one dates, so they really do have it all planned out.  Maren in particular needs dedicated, focused time with me: I love that her soul insists we prioritize such things! I wore a dress today that a friend pulled off the rack when we met at the mall for lunch.  “You have to have this,” she said.  I pushed back, and said, “No, I don’t buy fancy dresses when I don’t have any place to wear a fancy dress.  I have to have an occasion for a dress like that.”  She insisted and bought it for me.  (She’s ridiculous, I tell you.)  Today I wore the dress and felt glamorous and lovely.  I watched it swish in the wind and I felt like the beautiful mother I am.  I looked the way I feel and, for one of the rare moments in my life, I get fashion. The afternoon was rather unglamorous: we...

Read More