It feels like that moment in Hamilton where Thomas Jefferson comes to stage asking, “Can we get back to politics?” and Adams wimpers, “Please.” Everyone take a good, deep breath. Betsy has not lost her faith. But she is “working through the unimaginable.” Ok, I’ll stop with the Hamilton references, for now, maybe. Truly though, want to get a group of Christian’s praying quick for your salvation? Ask them if things can be coincidence and not Divine.
We leave for Philly in T-18 days and that feels like entirely too little time to prepare to be away from the homestead for 7 weeks. Mostly because, no amount of time will ever be enough. So we get to planning in spite of it. I joked with my dad that the good news is we have no crops or livestock that need tending, instead we have a very capable and lovely nanny, and a supportive community, so we will all be fine.
It’s fine, I’m fine, everything is fine.
We will be in Philladelphia from March 18th- May 4th’ish.
When Beau and I visited for our consult appointments back in February, I became keenly aware that it was the creature comforts that helped me settle. Where is the best local coffee shop? What side of the street is the Uber pick-up coming on? Is it actually safe to go to Wawa’s at 1am? (no.) It felt like after 72-hours I was *just* getting my feet under me and it was time to come home. The whole trip felt disorienting and tiring. Surely because it held multitudes (for which I still must detail), but also because I just want to ground myself with the simple things.
As such, treatment starts March 22nd at 8:30am and we’ve decided to head out around the 18th. We will have a couple days where Beau is feeling good and our schedule is open, to settle in and find our footing. Where is the best for to-go breakfast place, and how early must we arrive there and order to ensure not being late to our appointment? How far is the apartment from the children’s hospital and can we actually walk that distance post-chemo? If we stop for to-go breakfast and then walk to the hospital, what time do we need to leave to hit all the stops and not be late?
We won’t have a car, but the apartment is 4 blocks from the hospital. Walking seems possible.
We have decided to bring Jude along for the first couple days. Jude has already expressed (on repeat) his disdain that Beaudin gets to have all the fun. Oh child. Time away from school, an apartment with a pool, a plane ride, an experimental treatment that will forever change him….ok, Jude didn’t catch on to that last one. More than mere jealousy, Jude feels untethered. When we came home from 72-hours apart for the consult, he laid in bed with me after being very rude and snappy with me all day and cried because if he missed me “that much after 3 days, how would [he] make it for 7 weeks.” Oh sweet child. So, we decided that bringing Jude along would help fill his cup and also ground him with the simple things. So that when we FaceTime later on he will know, ‘Oh yes, you’re in the bedroom, in the back, with the big bed and grey pillows,’ or what have you. Will it solve everything? Nope. Will it solve something? Lord, I hope so 🙂
So Joshua, Jude, Beau and I will head out to Philly and settle in. Joshua and Jude will return home after a couple days and Beau and I will get to work.
Selah is going to stay home with the grandparents during that first weekend. I surfaced the idea to her a couple nights ago before bed, knowing that it may be a tough sell in that she has never stayed without, at least, her brothers. She wasn’t sure, but after much conversation she decided that “getting her bravery, sleeping on the floor with grandma, and eating pancakes,” was something she could do. Every morning since, she has come out from her room in the morning with a backpack packed to the brim with stuff proclaiming, “Grandpa and Grandma’s today!” and then proceeds to melt into total and complete mush when I gently explain it’s not today, crying for the better part of an hour. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have broached this topic 3-weeks out, but here we are, she is waiting with bated breath. We made a calendar with a countdown so that she can see how many days she has left….. and she still asks 4,203 times daily if it’s today.
Yesterday on a walk I told Josh that I felt like I was wading through the muck, similar to the weeks after diagnosis. A weird sensation where I feel hyperaware of stimuli, and also numb to everything. I feel consumed by planning for Philly, and exhausted by interactions outside of that. Yesterday, I saw my neighbor checking the mail, a neighbor I adore, and avoided walking out front until she had returned inside. The “how’s the weather” small talk is mind numbing in a weird way. I also have suggested two “how about in May” rainchecks this week, putting social interactions on hold until after this bonanza. Being an introvert, social interactions do not restore me and as such, my self care is putting them on the back burner.
I was gifted a book recently by a dear friend, titled, “Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times.” It’s a great book for anyone, but specifically a relapse cancer mom who feels like she has been once again thrust into a survival mode that feel isolating and tiresome.
Coincidentally, my friend Mimi mentioned the same book on her podcast. Quoting Mimi, “Does anyone winter well? There are times that we all end up wintering. We fall out of the path of everyday life, and the fact that it remains taboo to speak about, and talk about, and own up to, is sort of ridiculous. We all have these times in our lives. She (the author) draws our attention to plants and animals; that they don’t stop the wintering.” Quoting the book, “They know it’s coming, the expect for it. They prepare for it, they don’t pretend it’s not happening and attempt to carry on living the same lives that they do in the summer. They adapt, they perform extraordinary acts of metamorphosis to get them through. Winter is a time of withdrawing from the world, maximizing scant resources, carrying out acts of brutal efficiency and banishing from sight, but that’s where the transformation occurs.”
I’m holding to this as encouragement that this wintering is not muddling my joy with defeat and despair, but rather is a time for the preparation for a spring full of blooms, bird songs, and healing.
One other thing, the other day I realized that when I hit “publish” on my blog, the subscribers get the post content delivered directly to their inbox, so when I go back and edit it 439 in the hours following, subscribers don’t see the updates. Lovely. My perfectionist heart died when I realized this. I mentioned this to Josh and he said, “Yeah some posts I’ve read and they felt rushed and unpolished in a way that surprised me, coming from you,” I cringe laughed. All my haste to hit publish and avoid the analysis paralysis of my perfectionism delivers a first draft, un-edited blog to my subscribers. Oh the humility. I guess I assumed you were all sent a link, and you would be re-directed to the most updated version. So, yeah, here are my vulnerable insides, treat them nicely. ha. I suppose you’ll just have to wait for the final version in my memoir. Congrats you are all in early on the first draft.
And also, I told Josh I felt like I could write forever and it would never be enough time. Why do I write like I’m running out of time. (Hamilton, can’t stop, won’t stop… and the subscribers won’t see this because I added it post publish, hahahaha.) Because I am, I am legit running out of time because there will NEVER BE ENOUGH TIME to get this all out of me. He told me to just take the season and lean in to it, give the kids the extra screen time, order in the take-out, whatever, just keep writing because “it’ll run out eventually, it will just be a season.” And, well, little does he know, the well will never run dry. 🙂
Let the writing rage on. Screen time and take out for all!