As the sun pours in through the opened blinds onto our new-ish carpet and through the kitchen window onto our counter tops that I remember going to the granite yard to pick out those 8 years back and the dishwasher runs swish swoosh in the background and I can hear Adler talking with his dad and the familiar soundtrack to Mario Maker chiming from the other room I am lost in thought. Thought about this house, our lives and Adler’s. I look around and remember his first birthday here. His first Christmas. His crib in his room then his big boy bed. It went from baby Adler’s room to a super hero extravaganza with posters and action figures galore. We kept it the same blue it was when it was the guest bedroom and the other little bedroom was my office. Desk and all set up with my obsession with martini art and musicians. My how things have really changed yet stayed the same all in one well two years. Over a year of pain plus over a year of chemo. And tomorrow will be the first day that we do not have to go to chemo or go to the hospital for labs or something. There’s no packing of the chemo bag, there’s no getting all the meds together for med check. There will be no drive to the hospital tomorrow with the iPod playing and making sure I have all the chargers to Adler’s necessary devices and ours. No hustle and bustle of the anxiety infused chemo day rush around even though I would set the alarm to give us plenty of time. It is a very odd yet comforting and almost unknown because it was so known feeling. I will get him ready for school tomorrow instead of chemo. And Aaron will go off to work before we get up and all will be back to normal right??
2 years ago we were a normal family. So how do I do this? Adler was a toddler going to preschool. I was still hustling wine and drinking it, Aaron was and is still at the Street Department. It’s fall so I guess we do pumpkins and I get his costume for Halloween and we can trick or treat in our neighborhood this year and not at the hospital in his wheel chair. We have an MRI the end of this month in Chicago and then we go to Disney World for Adler’s Make A Wish in November. All things normal for us. Then the holidays will be upon us and he will have a Christmas break and he will get to back to school this time. Last time he didn’t because the pain was too bad. I think I might actually plan a trip for spring break too, or something cool to do because we can! Wow. That’s pretty cool to think about.
I keep looking ahead and I am trying to keep my focus on the good stuff. His pain is better. Way better. We have gone down on his fentynal patch and so far so good, not much break through pain. His morphine intake has decreased immensely and we couldn’t be happier about that…..right? He’s not on an appetite stimulant anymore since he’s not on chemo so he should be eating better and he seems to be eating pretty well all things considered, I mean he is a 6 year old and just a little picky. That was the same 2 years ago! His interests have changed a bit. More video games and less about “toys”. He still likes toys just not how he used to. His imagination is used in different ways now and I am glad he has a vivid one just like me. He has matured and grown in so many ways. One because he had to and two because that’s what children do. They grow up.
And we have too. I am definitely not the same woman I was 2 years ago. And I believe I have changed for the better. Not that I was a bad person before. I have just learned what’s really important and the value in life and all it’s splendors. I have also seen the awful in life and faced my greatest fears and been fully defeated but I didn’t let it take me down damn it. Not this time. Also I have learned what I do NOT give an actual fuck about anymore. You can post all the meme’s on Facebook you want about not giving a fuck but man I tell you cancer really does that to you! I have learned to bury what I need to and bring to the surface what is necessary. I have placed emotional band aides on things that were wounded and I keep them there while I heal. Time is another very important factor. I have learned time management is necessary but also can be a fucking illusion that is just used to cover up the fact that I am bored and don’t want to do my domestic duties and just binge watch Netflix or DVD seasons or finally dive into that stack of erotic novels that I have had forever sitting on my dresser. Something, anything to take my mind away from the present is usually what I end up doing. Even if it’s a aromatherapy bath with an over abundance of bath salts from Whole Foods and just my thoughts to keep me warm when the water cools down.
And then the guilt of it all kicks in and I end up tackling those 6 baskets of clean laundry and spraying down the kitchen and bathrooms and cleaning something. Picking up toys and shoes and random socks and my bra that got tossed on the chair. Folding blankets and finally hanging jackets and oh yea, maybe I should pay those bills! It all comes like a wave and I feel the cold water slam on top of me all while I give Adler the options for his breakfast, lunch or dinner and play short order cook for him and throw some chicken in the oven with the same 5-6 sauces stock piled in the pantry on it and throw a bag of vegetables in the microwave with rice for our own dinner. But isn’t that normal?? I mean, I talk to my girlfriends and they feel the same way. Just sprinkle cancer and disease on top of our life and there it is. So how do you keep your head up? Well, you have to or you will sink. And every now and then I do. I let myself. Because I have to. I have to feel. I have to be emotional. I have to be human and be ME. Stifled by life and it’s NORMAL rules and ways to be, but shown it’s ok to be different by my own mother has lead me to where I am today. I am teaching and showing Adler the same. He lives and grooves to his own beat and it’s easy to dance to that’s for sure.
I spent some time with friends this weekend. 2 old, one new and I truly enjoyed myself. I used to feel guilty about that. About the ME time, but it’s what gets me through to the next chapter. It’s needed to refresh and recharge. I am hoping for more of that as time goes on and our lives and their lives can become more “normal” together. Burst out of the cancer bubble so to speak. Play dates for both Adler and for the adults! And maybe one day I will stop apologizing for wanting that time. Yes Adler still has cancer. No he is not in remission. He may never be. He will most likely need chemo again and that thought will always loom over me but not like a dark cloud. I must keep the light bright as he does. He has shown me that no matter the life and death of his situation, he has chosen life and with that, so have I, so have we. We have chosen to LIVE through this no matter the out come. It’s all about what feels good. Go for it!
So back to normal. Well, hell, I don’t know what normal really is?? I don’t know that I ever have since I don’t think I have myself ever quite fit the “normal” mold. I don’t know if our family has either. Our trio tribe has always been just a little different. And I am ok with that. Who the fuck is anyone to judge really? And if you do, like I said I have NO FUCKS to give so it really doesn’t bother me.
So as I pick up the house today and though it feels a little tainted, a little drab and worn out around here, much like myself. I think, hey, I have a hair cut this week and I have lost 35 lbs.(and still going). I have bought some new clothes and I put on my red lip stick and enjoy myself, maybe the house needs a pick me up too. One thing at a time, one day at a time, one project at a time. I see some new paint and Goodwill trip or two coming up in the future through purging our unused items and clothes. A couple house magazines to give me inspiration or just a flip through the Pier 1 or Restoration Hardware and Potterybarn Kids website. Or hell, maybe a cruise on realtor.com just to see what’s out there. Why not……it’s all normal stuff. Wow, normal stuff. I dig it. It’s just going to take some time to get used to. And I am pretty sure when I get uneasy about it, I know who to talk to and where to go in my head or what to do to calm my thoughts, ease my mind, dull or heighten my senses and just BE.
Normal…..meh, it’s over rated anyway right???
2 thoughts on “Back to normal……or something like that.”
Elizabeth you are an amazing writer. Your words just flow right off of the page as each phrase paints a new picture in my mind.
Thank you so much!!!