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.
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.
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.
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!