I awake to a beautiful sunrise glistening over the lake. I can see the other side of the lake, a boat here and there scattered through the vast amount of trees with the beautiful colours of autumn starting to emerge. I am still laying in bed, I feel right at home. I stop and think of all that has happened to me and my family since my (our) diagnosis, I inhale deeply, hold my breath still and let go of those yucky memories on exhale. Today is a beautiful new day to be appreciated. I am so thankful to be alive, to be here, to be in this moment.
I hear my niece Kennedy calling for my sister from her bed. “Mommy…pause…. potty”, and so our day begins. There isn’t a clock in this bedroom and you know what, I think I love that! My cell phone has no reception here in the woods and although I feel a little disconnected from home (it’s only day 2 away), as I am thinking of Rick and C.J. and how their day is going, my heart is at home here. I’m always home wherever I am, because I surround myself with people that love me and that I love even more.
Brooklyn asks me “Which one do you like, Kucka”? She brought her princess colouring book over to me. We are both laying on the outside deck enjoying the sunshine and breeze. We each have our own lounge chair. She wants to know which princess I like the best. I look at all of the princesses and I choose the only one that is brunette, she is wearing a sky blue gown. “Why do you like that one?”, she asks me. I tell her that I have brown hair now, and the cozy bedroom I’m staying in here at the cottage is decorated with the same blue white calming colours and simply because I feel like a princess here. No obligations of anything are expected of me here. I can just “be”.
In the background I hear familiar sounds from a long time ago when I was a young girl. The language of card games. The sound of the cards as they are shuffled. My Dad and his sister, my Aunt Sue along with my sister. I find comfort and solace just watching them enjoy their game and most importantly enjoying each other.
I look to my right and little Kennedy is busy playing Mommy. She is pushing her doll in her dolly sized stroller. Brooklyn is still lying beside me on her lounge chair, she has since rolled over on to her tummy. She is flipping the pages of her colouring book and telling herself her own princess story out loud. I am enjoying her story, especially since she doens’t even realize that I am listening to her words and watching her.
Cancer enters my mind for the first time this morning. I can’t help but imagine that I am that little five year old girl right now, that I wish that I was a little girl that knew that when she grows into a big girl she is warned ahead of time that she will have cancer. I do not have any regrets in life, in fact I have a great life and I wouldn’t change a thing. However, I wonder that had I known ahead of time, even twenty years ago, what other wonderful experiences could I have squeezed in? What would they have been?
I had a wonderful mid-morning nap down by the water. I have the floating dock to myself. The breeze had picked up and now the water was rippling. I realize now that the dock had rocked me to sleep. I sleep better with noise, the quiet wakes me. Off to dreamland and meditative rest I go. All I hear is the gentle sound of the water as it rocks me to sleep and hits the rocks along the shore.
As I drift asleep I think of Monique, the cottage owner. She has children’s artwork displayed on the fireplace mantel. I think perhaps drawn by a niece or two? I don’t think she has daughters because the bedrooms in the cottage are not decorated as they would be for permanent little girls that would call the cottage home. I can only suspect that she is an Auntie too, with no children of her own, just like me. I love being an Auntie. I love how they call me Kucka instead of Auntie Karrie. The drawings on Monique’s mantel are addressed to “Momo”, which must be their pet/affectionate name for an Auntie this is loved as much as I am.
Can you believe that I just woke up from another nap? What is happening to me? I never nap. Two in one day? I must be detoxing or experiencing withdrawal from normal life. Cottage life is different and I’m finding a loss for words to describe it really. I’ve read three magazines today so far. I’ve been writing old style in my journal so I can share this all with you today. Sure miss my backspace key. My fingers are getting a workout and are being re-introduced to a pen and paper.
Kennedy helped me eat my lunch today. She along with the others just finished their hot dog lunch but since I am a vegetarian now I make something else to eat. In fact, I eat rainbows every day. A medley of fresh colourful veggies with rice and beans. I no longer feel sluggish after I eat. DeeDee ate most of my fresh cucumbers. She loves them as much as I do. My lap was her comfy seat and I love the smell of her curly brown hair while I share my rainbow with her. Inhale, exhale, mmmm, life is good.
Cindy and I take the girls back down to the lake for a paddle boat ride. Cindy and I are the ones doing all of the pedalling. Good work out. DeeDee is sitting between us since she is the littlest one with the most energy and little sense of fear. She is only two years old so you can imagine her energy level. Brooklyn is riding on the back area, kind of like a mini sun deck on this particular paddle boat. She was reluctant at first and teary-eyed but once she decided she was no longer mad at us, she did actually enjoy herself. She wanted to sit in front of us but how do you explain to a five year old about weight distribution on boats without showing them the hard obvious, wet way? The water is rather cold today to teach her this lesson the hard way. It’s early Monday evening and the lake is quiet. We saw only two boats today. All of the weekend cottagers have returned home to work. It feels like we are the only people on earth.
Cancer enters my mind again as we paddle by the shorelined cottages. We see one with a for sale sign. I pray to win the lottery so I can purchase one of my own. I would love to be in the position to share this “cottage dreams getaway” with other cancer survivors and their families. I wonder if Monique really understands just how much this means to me and my family? I’m certain that she must. I recognize her as one of my angels on earth. As I am writing this I am curled up on her couch and noticing that the cushions have angels (cherubs) on them. Here is a fitting word, goosebumps. Aunt Sue, Dad and Cindy are playing cards again. It’s time for a bed time snack, I’ll join them in the kitchen and see who is winning.
It’s very late evening, time for this cancer survivor to be grateful for another beautiful day and go to bed.