If there’s one thing cancer teaches us, it’s to be flexible, and ready to adapt to any and all circumstances. Try as we might to control our surroundings, to plan for an ever-elusive future, there’s simply no way we can know what tomorrow will bring.
By way of example: for weeks now, I’ve been looking forward to this coming weekend. For the first time, my beloved nephew is scheduled to come for an overnight visit BY HIMSELF! This is, in the life of any doting aunt, a momentous occasion. When the little man whispered to my sister at the end of his Fourth of July visit that he wanted to stay with us for an extra night while his parents went home to New York, I did a silent little fist pump and thought, “It’s official: he totally loves us!”
Since hatching the plan for our weekend together, I have secured tickets for a Phillies game (including the Cliff Lee back to school gym bag!) and harbored visions of treating our favorite seven year-old to his first ever cheesesteak. Chances are, I’ve been more excited about this visit than the boy himself.
But then, Hurricane Irene started roiling in the Atlantic, and suddenly the weekend is very much in question. The plans I had to kick off the festivities with some First Descents shenanigans in New York before heading home with Oscar in tow, have already been jettisoned because of the coming storm. The Phillies game has been rescheduled to Saturday afternoon. And as of this moment (early evening Thursday), I don’t even know if I will be going up tomorrow to collect my guy and bring him down for the weekend.
Everything is up in the air.
But really, when is that not the case? We have fantasies about what life should look like. We imagine unbridled lunacy, moments of delirious laughter and love, with friends and family. We plan trips. We believe we have some measure of control over what the next hours, days, weeks will look like.
Then the storm comes, or cancer comes, and life is suddenly a slate wiped clean of everything we thought we knew, of every plan that we’ve hatched, every dream we’ve nurtured. From small things, like an overnight visit with a beloved nephew, to big things, like the chance to have your own child – it all hangs in precarious balance, subject to disruption at a moment’s notice.
I’ve spent the last 24 hours or so mentally preparing myself for my vision of this perfect weekend to be completely scrapped. It makes me a little sad, but if things don’t work out, hubby and I will perhaps replace tickling wars and reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with popcorn and some good movies while we listen to the rain fall and the wind howl.
Eventually, the storm will pass, and we’ll start planning the next perfect weekend that may never come to pass.
So dream on. Just be ready for anything.