The way the school year flows in Israel is something like this... as soon as the kids start to get to know their teachers and schedules, the High Holy Days get rolling; Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur, and then Sukkot, which pretty much takes us into October. There's a full month and a half of serious school-time before Chanukkah vacation and then another couple of months before Purim. A month after Purim is Passover. As soon as Passover madness takes over, the school year goes into cruise control mode, downhill sailing. Right around May-time, parents start getting nervous. O M G! What camp are you sending to? What are your plans for the summer? Around May-time, is when I tune out of all those conversations. Summer vacation is the time of year I've been waiting for most. Yep. I'm the annoying Stay At Home Mom that all the Working Mothers love to hate. Summer vacation is the time of year when I can stop running around like a chicken with my head chopped off... no more crazy morning rush, no more carpools to a zillion different after-school activities, birthday parties, and whatnot. Summer is when we all slow down just a little bit at my house. We reconnect. Summer is when we pack up the car for a day at the beach or the pool. It's the only time of year that we can do what we want, when we want. Art projects, baking, lazy lunches at home, pajama parties... what-e-v-e-r. That's what I LOVE to do with my kids and I'm proud and thankful that I feel fulfilled in my mommy role.
Exactly one year ago, I embarked on a "fun summer" with my kids feeling like an absolute wreck; a shadow of my former self. I was exhausted, run down, and we all know why. 3 weeks later I was diagnosed and summer "vacation", as we know it, was woefully over. I don't remember very much in detail from that point. I do know that my youngest two were taken into a very fun summer camp just around the corner from our home. Friends in the community and family made the summer fun for my kids. Fast-forward through all the stuff and we've arrived full circle. Here we are again and it's summertime. Time to make up for what I lost last year. I owe it to myself and my husband and our five kids. I want it to be great!
I'm still running... running is my wonderful, amazing natural high that gets me through the week! I recommend and encourage anyone and everyone to get out there and walk, jog, or run... it's amazing how well you can feel for those isolated minutes or hours of heart pumping, breathing, and sweat.
And I find myself listening to a stereo repeat of the following chorus over and over again in my head:
I don't want to beAnything other than what I've been trying to be lately
All I have to do
Is think of me and I have peace of mind
I'm tired of looking 'round rooms
Wondering what I've got to do
Or who I'm supposed to be
I don't want to be anything other than me
That's the chorus for the Gavin Degraw song, I Don't Want To Be. It's the 3 Weeks, a period of time that we don't listen to music, and still that song is haunting me.
I just want to be me. I'm not saying that the "me" that I was, a year ago, was so great. One of the blessings I've been able to accept in my life, along with the Cancer Journey, was an opportunity to grow and change, and focus on meaningful attributes. I've gained appreciation and gratitude. My list is endless but I'm still not at peace. I'm trying to just. Be. Me. It's not working. It shouldn't be so difficult to "be yourself". My "Me" is happy and healthy and bursting with energy... but she's gone. She's not really all there. The "new Me" is still exhausted. She's forgetful and clumsy and nauseated all the time. She smiles constantly and says, "I feel great, thanks for asking, thank G-d!" but she's still just trying to perfect the Fake It Til You Make It method. I'm not sad. I'm happy and enthusiastic and full of ideas and plans.... that I feel too tired and not-myself to bring to fruition. I feel like at 6 months post-chemo it was all going to be behind me and on the road to Forgottenville and it's not. Having high expectations is probably not too smart or well planned on my part yet it's a difficult thing to control. Still working on it!
School's out for the summer! It's going to be grand! It's going to be fun! ...And if you have any doubts about it... just keep faking it. We'll all get there in the end.