Sometime this weekend, I made peace with the fact I have cancer.
It could be the open, honest, hard, left me in tears, conversation A and I had on Sunday as we ate at The Cheescake Factory sans S and AJ.
It could be the exhilaration of watching S perform in her 7th dance recital, the second one with her new dance school, where the teachers have loved her, supported her, and most of all, challenged her. S is a little girl (well, not so little considering she’s 10, is 5’1, and wears women’s shoes in an 8, the same size I wear…it’s odd to share shoes with a 10 year old) to whom things come easy. She learns quickly, most of the time. Rarely is she truly ever stumped by something. This year, dance stumped her because she had to move up in her tap and jazz classes to the more advanced classes due to her rehearsal schedule with the school plays. Jazz left her in tears many times this year. Her teacher expected excellence and pushed the class for everything they had. At one point, S was done…ready to quit. I wouldn’t let her. She needed the lesson: not everything comes easily. Her teacher, bless him, pulled her aside and told her not to quit, she needed to speak up and ask for help if she needed it, and he promised her he would work with her, which he did. This weekend, I watched her dance with her jazz class and saw her dance as I’ve never seen her dance before. I saw confidence. I saw her love for dance back in her eyes. Her dance teachers did that for her this year. I thanked her jazz teacher for seeing S, for really seeing her, and for demanding she rise to his expectations all while giving her the support she’s needed this school year. Then, I hugged her jazz teacher. I cried. He cried because I cried. And, we ended another year of dance…at least for a few weeks. Summer classes begin soon.
It could be because I’m slightly willing to see a small sliver of future for myself. I may only be looking ahead to next school year, but at least I’m willing to look ahead. I wasn’t willing to do that a month ago. I’m excited by the promise of next school year…the program I get to help implement, the students I’ll get to work with, and to do for those students what S’s jazz teacher did for her-demand excellence but give the support the students will need for these new classes.
It could be because I think I finally understand I could be killed in a car wreck tomorrow. It’s just as likely as the cancer returning or lurking somewhere. I can’t stop it.
It could be because I made actual, conscious efforts to relax this weekend, as crazy as it was, and to not allow little things to bother me. I found myself sitting somewhere and forcing myself to remember I can’t change the actions of others. I can only change how I let it affect me. So, I didn’t let it affect me.
Cancer may be a detour in the road for me, or it may be a permanent lane change. No matter what it is, I can’t change it. I can’t control it.
So, I made some peace with my lot in life. We’ll see how long it lasts, which may not be long, but I owe myself better than I’ve been. Being courageous or choosing to live won’t make the cancer come back. If it comes back…that sucks. But, I have to do better. In the words of The Princess Diaries (one of my guilty, makes me feel better, movies)…
I can’t continue to allow cancer to make me cautious or live in fear. I did that. I got cancer anyway.