Updated: Feb 5, 2020
On this drizzly day, I find myself sitting at a suburban Starbucks, waiting on my children as they finish up a class. I’m thankful that I am here to drive on the interstate and up a mountain to take one daughter to rehearsal, and then back the way I came to attend a church meeting with my other daughter, and then pick up my sons from swim practice. Tonight, I will pour myself a cheap hard seltzer and collapse in my bed before 9 o’clock. If you had asked me back in 2003, while I was pregnant with my twin girls, how I wanted my life to look in 2020, it would not have been today’s surroundings or itinerary. I would have imagined myself living in a West Coat metropolitan area, defying the odds by raising children in a densely populated area and taking advantage of every measure of the cultural benefits, deftly making my huge mortgage payment through my frugal prowess, joyfully homeschooling my children in the morning and brilliantly performing at night. No way would I live on the outskirts of Appalachia on 16 acres in a ranch house, shuttling them in an aging SUV to all their extracurriculars.
I can’t say I wouldn’t change a thing. I suffer from severe climate envy when summer rolls around. I long for richer cultural opportunities for our than we find in our mid-sized city. I wish I weren’t sitting in a suburban chain coffee shop listening to some strange dude on the patio stamp his foot really loudly to whatever he is pumping through his earbuds ... wait, he’s leaving ... oh, no ... some other dude just took his place next to the fireplace. Damn, I missed my chance. The new guy is speaking French, so that‘s cool. At least I can pretend I’m living in a metropolitan community.
But, World Cancer Day reminds me of something profound: I’m here and alive! I really could have died twice! And I’m not sure what the future holds for me as a breast cancer survivor. Do I, like my iPad at this moment, only have 8% left? Did all the chemotherapy and radiation give me a full recharge? I really don’t know, but I have great hope. I fully intend on taking more and greater adventures, on seeing my children off to college and their adult lives, and on holding a grandbaby. I’m thankful for my ranch in the woods, my little town whose doctors and treatment centers have twice saved me, and for all these opportunities that my kids have around our sweet mid-sized city. It’s really a wonderful life, and I’m alive to enjoy it.