Some empty nesters have problems with the whole kids spreading their wings thing.
Much as I love my daughter, my BFF was never more right when she pointed out that only one woman should ever run a home.And never were there two women who needed, more than anything, to have control over their environment.My daughter and I thrive in our own space and now that we both have our own, we are both calmer and dare I say it, sane.
This is not to say that there are not little insider jokes (read, revenge).When we helped to unpack my daughter’s kitchen on Moving Day my daughter’s mother-in-law as careful to place all the plastic bowls, containers and lids in a very conveniently located cupboard.And by conveniently located I mean that Baby CJ had instant access.Apparently, she finds the plastics cupboard in every kitchen fascinating enough to proceed with her own very special brand of baby demolition. Maw, ha, ha.
And I thought I was the only one, you know, special.Anyway, my daughter was so grateful that we set up her kitchen for her that she has yet to notice that Baby Claudia’s favorite thing to do − tear apart an entire cupboard full of plastic containers − continues at her new house.
Don’t you just love tradition?
Still, I am careful to feign surprise when my daughter tells me of Claudia The Baby’s latest adventure into kitchen cupboard land.Ha.As if I didn’t know.But even at my house the mess is never enough to motivate me to move my plastics stash to higher ground.I haven’t the heart to be honest.Claudia The Baby loves plastics, colored lids are her absolute favorite.She loves to peer through them, giggling with glee at some unseen blue or green translucent treasure.
Who am I to mess with a baby’s creativity?
What I am finding, amidst the peace and quiet, clean counters and careful order, is a sense of good enough.I can finally stop trying to get to perfect because it’s mostly just me and the boyfriend when he’s in town and good enough is just that, good enough.Things stay clean after I clean them and items stay put after I move them.That has been enough to restore a sense of rational behavior and taken away the frantic need to pick up and tidy endlessly.
For the first time in my life, it can be all about me.It wasn’t even all about me when I got cancer, I was pretty busy trying to reassure everyone in my life that I wasn’t going to like, DIE, a full time job.I had back-to-back surgeries and brutal chemo and then 30 doses of radiation and this when it seemed that every single day someone I cared about would get that look of sheer panic on their face and I’d have to find a way to be strong and reassure them that nope, I wasn’t going anywhere.When it came to the people who really loved me, I could actually smell the fear, I could taste of it.When my soon-to-be-son-in-law and I broke to the news to my daughter (he happen to get home first so we strategized over the best way to tell her), she collapsed in sobs and terror.She could not believe that her healthy strong mom, the mom who ate vegetarian because she didn’t even like the taste of meat, the mom who not only worked out but taught fitness classes her entire adult life, the mom who led a clean and healthy lifestyle, her mom was sick.Real sick.
It was inconceivable and yet, there we were, in the fight of my life.
Like with addiction, cancer patients soon learn that it is not only the person fighting cancer who is sick, the whole family is sick.Sick with worry, sick with fear, just plain sick, sick, sick.And often, sick from trying so hard not to show how terrified they truly are. I even found out my BFF was sick from being so darn brave.About three quarters’ the way through my treatments, we were at a hockey game and the mascot decided to try and pull my hat off my head.I was wearing a wig of course.I never got the chance to fend him off, my mild mannered BFF leap to her feet and screamed in fury at the hapless person in the costume, she totally and completely lost it.I actually forgot all about my hat and wig and how stupid the mascot was because watching my BFF have a melt down was a sight to behold.When we got to her car later that evening she burst into tears, she had just had it, she was so mad, so scared and so…
Turned out, we were all sick.
In the aftermath of chemo, when one is trying so hard to find equilibrium and normalcy again, there is really no one day when everyone is ‘all better’. There was a day that I got my taste buds back and even a day when I first discovered I was finally pain free, but there is no one day to mark when everyone is all better. Instead, you get good enough.Days when nobody brings up the ‘C’ word and days when you don’t think about the next round of tests and blood work and even days where people totally forget what you went through, you, the people you love, everyone your cancer made so darn sick.
And good enough days are just that, good enough. In fact, I’ll take as many good enoughs as I can get.