Tag Archives: control

Enjoying the ride

Taking a breakAt the end of Steve’s workday last week, we were out the door and on the motorcycle within five minutes. It was 87, blue skies all around us, hot, and humid. Storms were expected but by the looks of the sky they wouldn’t be here for some time. We rode up through Easton, stopped in Franconia and split a grinder then noticed the sky looked ominous toward the west. We headed for home via Sugar Hill then back the way we came on Route 112. It was obvious it was going to be close if we would make it home before the storm hit.

I was tense sitting on the back of the Harley, wondering if I would get hit by lightning or a falling tree. Suddenly I relaxed, realizing that if it was meant for me to go tonight—by go I mean die, of course—then so be it. Even when I saw the lightning and the rain drops on my helmet visor, I wasn’t overly concerned. I did spend some time thinking about possible places to shelter but left it up to Steve to decide what to do. Go for it was his decision, taking us on the dirt road by what my family calls “Pig Cemetery.” (A lifetime ago there were three pink baby pigs running around the cemetery!)

I actually stopped trying to control things twice that night. First I let Steve decide on the best approach for getting us home during the storm—hard to communicate anyway when you are wearing helmets!

The second time was when I just sat back and said “whatever.” If my time is up then no amount of worrying is going to change it. The girls will figure out the finances. Someone will take the cats. (But who will finish my novels??)

I wouldn’t have felt this way before my cancer diagnosis. Sure, now that I’ve had to endure the surgery and treatment, I certainly hope to live a lot longer. I want to see my grandchildren grow up to have children. But I can accept it if I don’t. What choice do I have?

That night I basically turned myself over to my higher power and enjoyed the ride. That’s pretty much what riding a motorcycle is all about anyway. As is living with cancer.

Relinquishing Control

Relinquishing control is hard. With the 4th of July festivities and the welcome invasion of family (this year 31 of us, 15 kids—not all in my house thankfully!) I am more or less forbidden to take charge of the food preparation and entertaining. That honor after many years of being my domain has been passed to the next generation. It’s hard to sit back and watch my daughters and nieces prepare the salad and heat up the beans while I am forced to lounge on the couch with my sister-in-law. (Turns out they took pleasure in their view from the sink of the two mothers doing nothing but chatting with each other!)

My form of relaxation until now has been to be busy, busy, busy, making sure that people have full glasses of wine, that the meat comes off the grill at the exact moment that the sides are lined up on the counter ready to go, that everyone has a plate, napkin, and a place to sit. It doesn’t mean I’m not proud that they are more than capable of doing as good a job, if not better, than I would have done. To see them work together is gratifying. It’s just that I expected this transition to happen in the somewhat distant future.

Now I am expected to take a nap in the afternoon, to look out for myself. To control my well-being instead of my guests’. Not only am I having a hard time accepting this, I actually resent having to think of myself before I think of anyone else. But one benefit is that my sister-in-law and I, both aspiring authors, have more time to talk about our writing–or rather our lack of writing. She will be here for a while after everyone leaves and that will give us even more time to continue this conversation!

Since November I’ve had to turn over control of my life to my cancer. It’s decided how I feel. What I can eat. What I can do. And especially when I can do it. There’s been a lot that I can’t do but I’m gradually getting back into things, like Pilates and yoga. And walking with Judy on her lunch break. My lunch break? Whenever I want it to be.

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