As I gaze across a few lawns watching my kids enjoy playing with others, the cool air is crisp, the sun is setting, the grass is green, leaves are changing. It is moments like this that I tend to tear up. Moments longing to watch to my girls grow up. A year ago this emotion would have never hit me. A year ago I would not have had the fear that this could not be a possibility. Today is a different story.
Today they both wanted to come with me to the grocery store. The year ago me would have been bothered, truth be told, the me of today was worried I wouldn’t feel good enough. Today though we maneuvered through the aisles, laughing, free spirited, one leg riding carts through gathering our groceries for the week. I saw the smiles on peoples faces as we had a glorious time. These simple moments are the ones I will cherish for a lifetime.
My heart aches for the ability to watch my kids grow up. I know that opportunity can be taken in an instance and I feel it more than the average person. Cancer is a hard dose of reality, it is the unknown, it is the mortality reminder, it is everything you don’t wish for and everything you do wish for. The ability to see life in the here and now, the ability to wish for time, yet the ability to relish in the everyday moments. Those are the moments I wish for, the everyday moments.
It’s ironic looking back on a year from now and thinking about what used to be important to me. So much has changed. The things that were important a year ago seem ridiculous, selfish, and even stupid. Today I am all about wrapping up in my family. Saying yes to monopoly games. Saying yes to walks in the nature preserve. Saying yes to grocery store trips with mom. Saying yes to ice cream parlors. Saying yes to helping me cook, even if it is 8pm at night. I am the cool parent that rarely ever says no. I am the one that will say, “run and have fun,” while I watch the whimsical joy of childhood unfold.
It’s the feeling that I think most take for granted. There is this whimsical thought that we will be around forever, at least long enough to watch our kids grow up. It’s a foolish comfort that people grow accustomed to until reality smacks them in the face. People think they are invincible, that death is something that happens in your 80s or 90s. Let me be your mortality reminder. Cancer does not know an age, neither does death.
To describe it to other people, the best analogy I can think of is, to have your feet firmly planted on the ground with your head in the clouds looking down. It’s as if you are painting a picture with your mind on each moment, capturing, soaking up, and freezing the moments forever.
Music takes me back and it also takes me forward. As we drove home from the grocery store I was thankful for little giggles in the backseat and thick sunglasses so the girls couldn’t see the emotion escaping as Ed Sheeran’s song, Perfect, played over the radio. The particular lyric that grabbed me was, “I found a love, to carry more than just my secrets, to carry love, to carry children of our own, we are still kids, but we are so in love, fighting against all odds, I know we will be alright.” Wow, if there was ever a lyric that summed up my life this would be it.
I sit here watching the neighborhood kids play together with not a single care in the world. Barefoot kids, green grass, laughter, footballs being thrown, trampolines being jumped on. For me these are the moments I live for. They will likely never understand just what they mean to me and a part of me hopes they never do. The reason I hope they never do is because they would then understand the gravity of what cancer brings to the survivor’s life, it’s different than the spouse’s life, different than the caregiver’s life, different than the sibling’s life, and different than the child’s life, it’s unexplainably different. For me, the survivor, it is something I would not trade for the world, yet something I would not wish on anyone.
While I wish for the ability to watch my kids grow up one thing I will never underestimate is the ability to unplug and put my phone down. The ability to never wish time away. The out of body experience of watching my kids enjoy life, that will never grow old.
Do not take these moments for granted because there are those of us that are wishing for more of these moments. Do not be the annoyed parent, the one nose deep in social media, look up and picture take with your mind. You all may think I am crazy, for those that don’t take my advice I think you are the ones who are crazy. Life is fleeting, it’s meant to be enjoyed. There are seven days in the week and someday is not one of them.
This life is mine to live. I love every single moment of it. For me, it’s the ability to watch my girls grow up, to wrap up with my husband, to enjoy life.
Raise those cabernet glasses because life is spectacular! I’ve got a monopoly game to play on our back patio with an amazing fire!