Cloudy with a chance of showers

clouds 2

Clouds by Olaf Breuning

Cloudy with a chance of showers.  That’s what we used to call Chloe at the age of 2.  Cozy in her stroller, she always seemed to be pouting and on the verge of tears.  She’s the ripe old age of seven now and her nature remains the same.  Even when I hand her a present she always gives me a sour looking pout.  An hour after discovering the box or bag was filled with Barbie dresses or dolls, she smiles.  It doesn’t come easily and is hard-won as far as I’m concerned.   I wish I could tell her to embrace the fun in life.  That it really is so much easier when you do.  I doubt my words of wisdom would make much of a difference.   Lightness of being really just isn’t in her nature.

At the south end of Central Park there is a new art exhibition called Clouds and I took the picture above of it.  The moment I saw it I thought of Chloe.


wires 1

I’m in the midst of a harrowing travel schedule that happens every year.  I’m annoyed that George Jetson’s jet pack was never developed.  I could really use one.  That or transport like they had on Startrek.  Beam me up or over!  Anything to avoid airports and long drives.

Last week I drove from New York to Boston, flew to Texas, then back to Boston to drive through Connecticut back to New York.  I left on Monday and was mush by the time I made it home on Friday night.  I give presentations to get sales teams in my company excited about various products we sell.  I’m actually very good at it and can boast that I never leave a room without infusing enthusiasm.

in bloom

Country road in Connecticut

It was four years ago at this very time that I learned I had cancer.  A week after my Lumpectomy, the doctor informed me I had to have a Mastectomy.  I drove from that devastating meeting to New Hampshire to present to my coworkers.  The drive took seven hours as I cried in just about every rest stop on the way.  It was my friend Vita who told me not to tell anyone at work unless I had to.  “Once they know, they will never let you forget.  Wait and see what you’ll need to do”  In hindsight, it was the best advice anyone could have given me.  Hiding my truth was also the hardest thing I have ever done.  I’ve seen others since whose careers vanished once cancer became part of their definition.  As a single woman, I couldn’t afford that outcome.

Central Park in Bloom

Central Park in Bloom

I can’t help but remember those emotionally weighted days as I drive up and down the coast now.  All of that “windshield time” leads to reflection.   It’s the sight of flowers in bloom that ignite my thoughts but what has struck me this year is it’s all just a memory.     Sure, my arm is wrecked with 24 missing Lymph nodes, my body is scarred, I don’t eat meat and ponder every morsel I put in my mouth but the painful hell is behind me.  I’m dealing with the memories and the promises I made to myself.  When I was in the midst of all the operations and subsequent plastic surgery fills, I promised I would lighten my schedule.  I would enjoy the present and not push myself too hard.  This past week is proof I haven’t heeded my own needs.  Yes, taking things easy seems to not be in my nature.  Unlike Chloe though, I’ve learned a thing or two along the way.  I’m trying to change my wicked ways for the sake of my health.  I’ve made reservations to stay at a spa for just two days in mid May in the midst of all my harsh travel.  I’m very excited with my new plan.  Yes, there will be two days set aside to do nothing but hike, photograph and enjoy the day before me.

Fingers crossed, I’ll be able to change my nature for a day at least!

This entry was posted in Cancer, Essay, Photography, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Cloudy with a chance of showers

  1. Greg says:

    Enjoy yourself! It’s always good to treat yourself, especially if you’ve been working hard on the run up to it.

  2. LB says:

    Mae, your travel schedule sounds challenging!! I’m so glad you like what you do, are good at it, and receive such positive feedback! Phew!! You need to try to schedule those spa days (or a version of them) more frequently. You promised yourself, and even if you aren’t one to make things easy on yourself.
    Your comments about Chloe are interesting. It makes me sad that at such a young age, she already doesn’t have “lightness of being”.
    You are a strong, talented, giving woman, Mae, and I’m thankful that I have gotten to know you a bit via WP.

    • maesprose says:

      I am happy to have gotten to know you too!

      Chloe will do fine in life. I think I’m just fascinated by her as she tends to make things harder than they need to be at times. Some of it is shyness and some of it is her nature. She’s learning how to interact and I’m sure she’ll change as she gets older.

  3. I can definitely see you leaving a room full of people pumped up to do whatever you have asked of them. Take care of yourself and enjoy life, I know, no one needs to tell you that life is unpredictable and each minute is precious and should be savored fully. After all, we only get this one life and how long it lasts isn’t always up to us. We each better enjoy it while we can.

  4. marydpierce says:

    But you do take time to post your thoughts, which are always interesting, accompanied by your lovely photos. That is something. And I am appreciative. Poor Chloe. One’s nature, I think, is in the DNA. It may not be that she is of sour nature, though, so much as she is reflective and more sensitive then most, and processing how she feels takes longer. I can relate.

    Enjoy every single minute of your spa days!

    • maesprose says:

      Mary – I think you have best described Chloe’s “internal thought process.” Thank you also for reminding me that I am posting my thoughts and photos… sometimes I forget about the time I am able to carve out to take photographs.

  5. elroyjones says:

    It’s hard to achieve balance, Mae. It’s a constant challenge but we have to make it happen and we WILL make it happen, won’t we?

  6. tw says:

    It’s hard when you’re the only source of income, hard finding out you have cancer, hard being treated and hard when it’s over because you’re still the only source of income. I know this feeling. I’m glad you’re having the spa break Mae and perhaps it will give a little space to work out how to heed your other promises. I want you to stay well, physically and spiritually, for many, many years to come. I think your disposition will help a lot and a little added care and kindness will be the I ribbon on top 🙂

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