cancer has helped me get away with a lot these past couple of months. it's been a pretty good excuse. i mean i've gotten out of dishes and laundry and carpools and appointments. and i guess i have to admit, i've even gotten out of being nice every now and then. i have said some things i probably shouldn't have - this part, unfortunately, is nothing really new for miss-speak-her-mind-too-often. but let's just say, no one has been especially willing to call me on it lately.
cancer has also helped me get into some things. well, to be honest, it helped my friend, cheryl, get into something. a couple of weeks ago a group of girlfriends decided to "get me out of the house" and take me to a chick-flick. everyone arrived at once, bought tickets and grabbed their seats. everyone except cheryl. by the time cheryl got to the ticket window the show was sold out. she called us on our cell phones and told us the disappointing news. we told her we had a seat saved and to check again. the next thing we knew cheryl was in - standing right there before us with a big smile on her face. she had explained to the manager that this was a special night out. "one of my dear friends has breast cancer and we are all taking her out to cheer her up. please can you make an exception?" it worked. how could the man possibly say no? voila! cheryl had a seat and a ticket! i realize this sounds a bit sketchy to some of you. and you're probably right. this is not the kind of thing which should be used...or manipulated. except that in some strange way, even using it a little, has helped it all feel somehow lighter. better. at least we've had some laughs. and laughter is incredibly important right now. recently, i had a friend's young son tell me i could probably use my cancer to get myself some free groceries and my own son announced once that he thought perhaps i might get a free dessert or two out of the deal. i even heard one of my daughters say to her sister, not too long ago, "you'd better be nice to mom, she has breast cancer." so you can see, clearly, there have been a few perks along the dark way.
but i think, for the moment, the charm just might be wearing off a little. it might have something to do with the fact that i am at least looking a lot more like the normal jody. thursday my doctor gave me the "all clear." lifting, reaching, carrying, holding, pulling, pushing, moving, driving.... it was all a go. he gave me the green light to get back into life. and if you know me, you know i did exactly that. i couldn't even wait to go home and wipe down my kitchen countertops and windex my glass porch table and grab items off high shelves. no, seriously, i couldn't wait to go home and pick up my three year old. and i did. oh, how i did! and it was the most wonderful picking up of a three year old ever. one month without my bella in arms was a long time. too long for this mama.
so this weekend my parents arrived in town. i guess i would say they were surprised to find me tan and clothed and picking up things. even though i told them i was healing every day... they just couldn't believe and couldn't know until they laid their very own parental eyes on me. they both seemed to give an audible sigh of relief within the first ten minutes. it wouldn't have surprised me to hear my mom lean over and say to my dad, "look larry, she's even wearing lipstick." so there i was this weekend with my sister, nicole, visiting from oregon and my parents in town from ohio. i think i worried them all a bit as i zipped around the house, determined i could handle it. whatever "it" was. i wasn't trying to prove anything to anyone. i promise. i truly am feeling so much better. i turned a huge recovery corner last week. of course, i have to admit, there is something in me that wants my parents to see me doing well. i hate for them to worry. but the bottom line is i love handling life on my own terms. call it pride. we've discussed this in multiple posts. i know. it is usually in the mix somewhere.
okay, so back to that excuse thing not working so well. saturday afternoon my husband and dad and sons all loaded up and took off for a man's trip to bass pro shops. they took rick's vehicle. the women folk...well, we all loaded into my gigantic SUV with plans to head out shopping for some father's day goodies. (how ironic). the next thing i know, miss i-can-do-it has plowed into her dad's car. my SUV and my dad's SUV collided definitively in one destructive blow right there on my driveway. suffice it to say, it looked as if i was going about 45 MPH. i had only put my car in reverse and my foot on the gas. a little. i am still amazed at how a small smash could do all that damage. i had no pain medication to blame it on. i had no dazed and confused to pull out of my bag of tricks. i had very little recovery left to attribute it to. i, basically, had nothing. just me and my middle-aged-distractedness. it was stupid. i just plain forgot about my dad's car parked behind me. that's it. that's all. my girls immediately went to the recent and, usually successful, stand by, "mom, you need to remind dad and grandpa about your breast cancer." even my mom and sister thought it worth a try. i, however, have been my dad's daughter for 42 years and my husband's wife for 21 years...i know these two men well and i also know when enough is enough. i wasn't getting out of this easily. in the meantime, we decided there was nothing to do but to go shopping and have our lunch. the cars were drive-able. at least. and though all the females sympathized greatly, my mom and sister and newly-driving-daughter were all just deliriously happy that it was me and not them doing the most disasterous deed. i have to say though, it is pretty impressive smashing up both my dad's car and my husband's car in one fell swoop...not to mention doing it on father's day weekend.
like any woman, i spent some considerable time figuring out exactly the best moment and the best way to break the news. after all, i didn't want to steal the joy from their bass pro shop trip. i really was trying to be thoughtful. i settled on a well timed phone call. quite brave of me, i know. there were some exasperated sighs and a few frustrated comments and more than a couple pointed questions, but for the most part we got through it. i didn't get out of it, but i got through it. not too long afterwards my dad hugged me and told me it was okay and there were bigger things in life. he's right. i know this by now. my husband, he too, eventually hugged me. since he has to pay for it all, it took him a tiny bit longer to say, "honey, let's move on." but he did. and we did. and that's what we do. no one was hurt. and cars can be fixed. and "i'm sorry's" can be said. and tears, well, those can be wiped away. because that's how life works. i know this today better than ever. cancer has gotten me out of some things. it has gotten me around some things. it has even gotten me into some things. but mostly, it has taught us all some things. yes, it has taught us some very big things.