My latest blog post on Women on the Verge…
During the cold, dreary winter months, I keep depression away by planning every detail of my family’s summer adventures. From our annual family reunion/ beach week, romantic weekend getaways, writer’s retreats, daytrips to amusement parks and motorcycle runs for good causes, I am busy inside, researching the next best fun thing to do, while the snow is falling outside.
My husband and I both put in extra hours at our out of the house jobs and I write thousands of extra words to fund our sunny weather activities.
I convince myself every winter to hang on for a few more weeks my sanity will return and the empty idea files in my mind will overflow with endless creative ideas as I lounge along the shoreline soaking up the warm soft breeze.
Then I wake up and realize every summer plan I have made for the last eight years has either imploded or exploded. There was the summer I was recovering from a brain injury and the one where my daughter had to have an emergency c-section and was in the hospital for weeks after recovering. The summer my stepson was in a horrific motorcycle accident and in a coma for twenty-one days. Still embarrassing is the time I tried to shut the garage door at our beach rental and the door sucked up eight of my fingers causing my grandson to call me Mom-Mom scissor -hands the rest of the summer. Two years ago right before our vacation my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. The outlook was grim. After months of treatment, his cancer miraculously went into remission.
Then there was last year. One of my two dearest friends in life was diagnosed with a cancer so ugly there is no ribbon that would ever be appropriate. My other dear friend and I visited North Carolina as often as we could. After months of chemo, radiation and a radical, life changing twenty –hour surgery she was declared cancer free.
John and I swore we witnessed another miracle. We wanted to celebrate life. In January, we leased a beautiful, private beachfront home that was large enough for our kids and grandkids. June 22 could not arrive fast enough. At every family occasion we talked about the fun, we were going to have during beach week. My daughter’s and I planned the menus. We shopped for extra special beach toys for the little kids and the big kids.
On June 10, I was told my father’s scan showed a ‘mass’ in his throat. My mother’s scan showed a suspicious density in her remaining breast. It looked like my summer would include a few trips to Florida to be with them.
I got the news my sweet friend’s scan showed multiple lesions. I would be spending some time in North Carolina this summer as well.
On June 14, John called me at work to tell me our realtor called and told him the house we leased was suddenly unavailable to us because the owner had a family emergency. The proverbial shoestring broke and I could not even grab the pieces.
My personal rule to never, ever commit woman -on -woman crime no.matter.what. was about to be broken big time on that realtor because we found out it was her negligence that lost our house.
Not to worry she said, we found you another house, it is only three towns away and does not have direct beach access, and it is not private.
It was also not the sand that my husband and I stood on our first date and watched fireworks. It was not the beach where we shared our first kiss then thirteen-months later got married during our beach/reunion week. It was not the sand that held the precious ashes of my stepson, the ones my husband scattered lovingly so the boy would be with his family, each and every family beach week.
I am not going to plan the day but the first one that comes along and finds the two of us with the day off, no rain in the forecast and a clear calendar, I will look at John and say lets go. I will hop onto the back of his Harley and in no time, at all we will be sitting on ‘our’ beach.
Life can be chaotic, down right terrifying at times. It can feel like the world is crashing around us and sometimes even on top of us. I can always count on ‘our’ waves, to remind me that whether life comes at us as a raging storm or in soft poetic rhythm, it will be constant.
I will take the time to breathe softly and cleanse my soul of the everyday life stressers like traffic, lost sippy cups, endless deadlines and whining. My eyes will follow a seagull as he soars along that invisible line where the fluffy white clouds meet the sea. I will hold my husbands hand, close my eyes and be grateful for him, our family and our many blessings.
I will open my eyes just in time to see a crab scurry by and I will shriek. John will laugh so hard that tears will roll down his cheek and I will give in and laugh nervously with him. Our eyes will meet and for that moment we will have stolen back, our joy and we will smile. We will have a little fun in the sun and then ride into the sunset and back to our reality.
Women on the Verge.. A true Sisterhood..