Thursday, January 1, 2009

Goodbye, 2008

Another year has come and gone. Every year, at this time, as I start to reflect, I stop and think, "Where the hell did the year go?" Where did the time go?

All the plans I had made, then didn't "plan out". I started blaming Cancer for all of it. Cancer became an excuse, a crutch. Everyday things that I enjoy, suddenly came to a halt due to health constraints. I was either too tired or too sick to join a friend for coffee. I missed several of my daughter's school functions due to Cancer.

Just recently, I missed my oldest daughter's Christmas Concert because I had just underwent a chemo cycle the day before. She plays clarinet. If she doesn't continue band next year, in high school, it was the last opportunity for me to see her Christmas performance. I did, however, attend her Jr. Beta induction in October. I was so proud of her achievements. That was something, no matter what it took, I was going to be there and relish in her moment.

I missed out on my youngest daughter's 3 day, 2 night field trip. Something that her grade does every year for the students. They travel to a nearby national park and spend three days and two nights in cabins. I was able to attend with my oldest daughter when she was that age. It was a memorable trip. The children have a great time hiking, crafting, ghost stories, making 'smores, and spending time with their friends and classmates while learning about wildlife, conservation and nature.

I became guilt ridden because I could not attend. It did not seem fair to me that I was able to enjoy this with one daughter, but not the other. My youngest daughter, quite more mature than I at times, told me "You have cancer, Mom. I understand that you can't go, but you will be with me in my heart." I cried the entire time she was gone. She brought her camera with her and took a lot of pictures to share with me.

After she returned home, she connected the camera to my laptop and shared with me a slide show of everything she and her friends did. She told me story after story of the happenings and it seemed as if each picture had its own story. She later told me she did it so that I could feel as if I was there, to have memories of my own. Children amaze me at times. When you think they possibly can't understand, sometimes, they understand better than you, yourself.

Even though we have enjoyed all the holidays since my diagnosis this year, they have not been as elaborate as I have made them in the past. After I got past the guilt, I discovered that sometimes, less is more. Simple is better.

At my youngest daughter's 12th birthday party, she opted for a birthday cake "from scratch". She told me, however, if I didn't feel like making it, I could get a store bought cake, as we normally do. Something about the fact that she asked for a homemade cake made me more determined to make her one. Not one ounce of pain was going to stop me from making it.

The morning of her birthday, which fell on a Sunday this year, I made her favorite breakfast of waffles and fruit and sausage. Later that morning, she asked if she could help in making the cake. We both had a fun time making her birthday cake and spending that amount of time together. It was more important to her than just buying one at the store. (and it tasted wonderful as well...)

As time went by,I learned to gain a greater appreciation for small things in life. Everyday things that may easily go unnoticed in our fast paced, hectic life. Things I know that I had not been so aware of daily, at times. Health. Energy. Strength. Pride.

In 2009, I am going to say goodbye to my guilt. I pray to say goodbye to my cancer. Nonetheless, I am bound and determined to have the energy, no matter how much or how little, to spend with my children. To bake a dessert, make dinner, watch a movie together or play a game, and know that I did all I can do. As long as I am with them and spending quality time with them, I have succeeded. I want them to continue to be my positive, my will to beat this cancer. I did it once, I can do it again.

I want to be around for my children a long time.

This time, the fight is personal.

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