On Birthdays | On Balance

I had no idea what this birthday would bring. The Professor kept suggesting that I not make plans;  so beyond taking the day off and hoping to be on the water in my kayak, I obliged. The day began with sweet whispered greetings of “Happy Birthday Mommy” from Ian; and encouragement to “get up and see what we have for you” from the Professor.

While enjoying excellent coffee I opened the birthday presents with Ian assisting and running around all excited. There were three cards. Accompanying Ian’s was a small box, a lovely locket; unique and ready for a photo. There was a larger box. It was heavy … and it came with instructions. First, I had to tear off the wrapping, then open a card, then watch a video… I told the Professor he was bizarre in his infomercial; but really I think he was too sweet. And so, what my birthday brought  on this perfect September day, was a stand up paddle board.

After cutting fresh flowers for Mom; a tradition that I cannot recall when it started; we went to breakfast and then ventured to the Lake. There was no one there – it was beautiful and amazing and I cannot believe we had it all to ourselves!  Because I was thinking I might flip a few times, I left my phone / camera in the car.IMG_0658

The key to standing up on a paddle board is balance.  That stayed with me throughout the afternoon and at some point while I was floating and absorbing the sun.  I decided it will be my theme for this, my 46th year …

BALANCE.  There are about 31 ways to define balance as a noun or a verb.  I think I will adjust the definition as needed; but in short, I will seek balance in life, love, health and time; relationships, family and friends; work and play; nature and nurture; me and everyone else…



Survivors Have Perspective

I feel like when people either face loss or are faced with their own mortality and given another chance at life, their perspective changes.  Priorities shift to what makes sense; the small stuff is less to sweat about and each day is received as the gift it truly is.

My mother is a breast cancer survivor (along with several other health challenges); my maternal grandmother was not as fortunate.  My sister and I often comment that it’s not “if” but “when” we will have to face that day.  I have friends who have survived cancer.  And one, right now, who is beating breast cancer with amazing strength, poise and grace.

So, my perspective shifts each time I go for that mammogram.  I have learned to take the whole experience in stride – schedule early in the day to get it over with, or to have the day to process the results.  Typically, because of my “family history” my mammograms or ultrasounds are scripted as “diagnostic” meaning I get to sit and wait in that in-between locker type room wearing that awful cape,  until the nice technician comes in to tell me “You are good to go, see you next year.” The “All Clear” I call it.  Usually I take myself for a pedicure at that point.  It’s well deserved.  Lately I have also take to having a friend on call, just in case.  Thank you to my BFF Lizardjag!

This time was different.  This time, my doctor did not prescribe a “diagnostic” but rather a “screening.”  I am not sure why. Was it payback for my reaction when I was pregnant and instead a mammogram had a breast ultrasound and the radiologist said, “You might want to rethink breastfeeding so that you can get your mammogram after you have your baby, given your history.”  WHAT????? WTF!!!!

In any case, I was a little surprised when last week the kind technician with the white hair who plays jazzy Rod Stewart while you are waiting in the dim lit room, told me “OK, that’s it.”  “Really?” I asked. “Usually you read it while I am here.”  She glanced down at the script. “No… this time he wrote it as a screening. You are seeing him next week.   He will review the results with you then.”  Oh… I did not like that; not one bit.  Too much time to think, obsess, wonder, worry… I did not feel up to a pedicure.  Instead I treated myself to a Zyr on the rocks, splash of seltzer, just enough cranberry to make it pink, double lime.  Just what the doctor ordered.

 I went through the next several days a little detached.  I looked at Ian and I cried.  What if?  How? What happens?  Then I became determined.  There is no way.  I am not sick and I will not be sick.  Each time I started to envision the possibility, I made myself shift the thinking.  For sure I don’t want to have that vision and manifest it into my life!

So, today when my doctor was tap tap tapping on the door of the exam room I said, “I hope your happy tapping is because you have happy news.”  Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  All Clear!

This was worthy of more than a pedicure and so I took myself shopping.  I returned home with Ian, some new goodies and a fresh, grateful perspective.  I have another reprieve and I damn well plan to remember it each moment.  I am officially challenging myself to shift my perspective as though I have from this time until the next boob crushing mammogram to really, completely, dive right into this adventure without abandon; and during those hard to handle moments … pause, breath and exhale with grace.

a random thought – from summer to fall

It seems just yesterday that I was sitting on the front porch, head wrapped in a wet bandana, drinking ice water with my feet up – trying to heal my “cankles” on the hottest fourth of July I could ever remember.  Who knew that the following day I would go into labor – 5 weeks early!  Here I am, it is October… and although I have been home with this little man for just over 12 weeks – I still have to pinch myself to be sure I am not dreaming this as my life! But as I look over to his sweet sleeping form I am reminded again of how grateful I am.