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.