where to now?

 

i heard my lovely teenage daughter telling a friend how i called her at camp to discuss where to go for ‘mom’s next big trip.’   it’s true.  and it’s not.  and today, on our way home from school and work, i took a moment to talk to her about it.  i wanted to find a way to tell her that we weren’t going once a year to some wonderful foreign destination because i needed a big vacation, but because one of the lessons of cancer – indeed – one of the lessons of any major personal trial – is that we need to have our lives NOW…who knows about later.  as i climbed out of the pea-soup fog of all my treatments, i found a glimmer of ‘oh yes i will and you can’t stop me’.  and then a little more.  it wasn’t a steady growth of determination or resolve but each day brought a little more.

i turned 50 right before my 2 year diagnosis anniversary (yes, it’s so lovely to get diagnosed right near your birthday – NOT).  i was asked what i wanted to do to celebrate and, without a single moment of hesitation, said that i wanted us to go to paris.  no party, no dinner.  just paris.  i had never been to paris and i was going.  and we did!  the city was so spectacular that i could ignore or at least put aside giving in to feeling tired.  on a bell clear late-novermber night i stood directly across the water from the eiffel tower as it came alive just exploding and dancing with lights – daughter and husband by my side.   sometimes you get something and you have it but you already want something else.  i remember standing there thinking that i was utterly satisfied.  i was where i wanted to be.

 since then, i’ve insisted on a big trip a year,  it’s easy to make excuses and find reasons to not go, not spend the money, not make the time.  but i feel an urgency that i try very hard to not make feel like a fear.  i feel an immediacy.  i want to see the world with my beautiful daughter before she’s gone off to college and other obligations.  i want to have those memories with her and, if i’m being really truthful here, i want her to have those memories of me and of us as a family.  our little family.  i traveled the world many times when i was singing but this is so different.  she sees through my eyes and my husband’s eyes and we see the world now through hers.   

 

Paris: Thanksgiving 2007

Paris: Thanksgiving 2007

 

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4 Responses to where to now?

  1. Kathryn J says:

    I wish! Reality says there is no way our current level of deficit spending could support a trip. I know your post says that it is a matter of priorities. This is not true for everybody.

    Do I feel it’s important? Do I have a list of where I’d like to take my kids? Absolutely. The list starts with Sweden to visit relatives and a marvelous au pair that allowed me to work the first year of Kyle’s life. I am only in need of that high-paying teacher job and I will be all set.

  2. rebeany says:

    yes, you’re right. we’re lucky that we can do it. i should have written that in order to make these trips, we have to cut back on other things that i’d like to have but yes, with careful planning we can.
    <> i read back, though, over my post and i think i was specific that it’s a matter of priority for ME…so i have hauled ass to make it happen.
    i’m rooting for you to get that job. it’s not easy out there xo bean
    ——-

    i was up a lot last night thinking about this. perhaps, what i didn’t say, was that i have a bad tendancy to ‘sit tight’…to stay holed up here in my house, at my computer. the ‘staying very still’ that i got very good at for a very long time in order to get through. propelling myself and my family to go traveling is evidence that i am determined to break free of that. for another person, it could simply be the ‘doing’ of other things: a family project; cooking dinners together, etc. for me, the touchstone is traveling again because that represented a significant and positive time in my life when i traveled for work – when life was untouched by the cruel shadows of illness. it’s an effort that doesn’t come so naturally for me.

  3. Lisa says:

    Bean, you are building such wonderful memories for Hannah! You are certainly right: A major personal trial can crystallize how you want to live your life. I’m glad you’re acting on it.

  4. Laurie S. says:

    That was such an awesome holiday card! I’ll never forget it!

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