Why the shortest day of the year is my favorite
Today is the shortest, darkest day of the year where I live.
And I’m feeling giddy for the first time in months.
Giddy, because I am deep optimist. I am filled with hope at the idea that things can only get better.
Yes, that means I tend to buy homes with ‘potential’ just so I can enjoy knowing how beautiful they will be over time. This helps greatly when the home improvement budget has only included things like ‘new water heater’ and none of the fun stuff I imagined.
Speaking of which, here is a photo of today’s ‘gingerbread house’project. Six fourth grade boys…I imagined a magical village and hours of construction. What I got was ten minutes of building a Pokemon battle…while they exchanged bawdy jokes. Lesson learned about the difference between boys and girls at this age!
Since today is the shortest, darkest day, I can smile through the winter, because every day from here will get brighter and longer.
And ‘for the first time in months’ because what no one tells you about cancer survivorship is that the year after you make it through, there is more of what Dr. Susan Love calls “collateral damage.” It’s not like radiation or chemo where you’re blistered or bald or sick. You’re well. All’s ‘normal.’ Except, it’s not.
Every twinge of discomfort that would never have even been a complaint makes me wonder, is that metastasis in my spine? Is that cough persistent? Should I get an MRI?
At night if I wake up from a dream with any kind of worry, my mind now adds, AND, you know, cancer.
Finally, it adds a layer of panic to any aspect of un-optimized life. Not exercising enough? Not playing with the kids enough? Getting too stressed out by work tasks? What an idiot, are you really going to have to re-learn this lesson again? Please.
Because going through treatment and Scott’s graduate school and my starting a company used up all the reserves of everything – time, money, patience, energy. There was enough to get through cancer with enthusiasm, but that push just about drained our collective batteries.
The effect? A worried mom, wife and business person is a more irritable mom, wife and business person. And it’s easy to feel like there isn’t an end in sight. How discouraging!
Which is why Dresses (insert your own statement of optimism and empowerment here) matters. Why it’s not frivolous. Why declaring that ‘despite all this, I will CHOOSE to focus on the beauty and the hope’ is such an act of defiance.
The shortest darkest day of the year?
Let it be a turning point.
The point at which you have made it through the real winter.
The point at which you decide that worry won’t rule, that you will notice the light getting brighter and longer in your life every single day from here on out.
With you in the winter sunshine, no matter the weather