Every year has become more significant to me since being diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2000. Every day -- every hour and every moment is a gift I treasure.
As we enter a new year -- 2012 -- I find myself reflecting back upon the past as well as looking towards the future. The past is over, it cannot be changed. I am forever a cancer survivor. Although I would like to change that December day when I heard those words, “You have cancer” that’s simply impossible. Even if I had a time machine capable of taking me back in time -- and even if I could change the past (at least the part where I became ill and at times, in such horrible pain) there are aspects of my past I would never change.
I love being a Mom. I have never taken on any responsibility that has ever matched this role. No job or position I’ve held has come close to being a parent. It’s a 24/7 job -- no day’s off, no vacations, no benefits I can take to the bank (or use for retirement), but I love it and would never change anything about it.
My son, Brian, never ceases to amaze me with his talent and creativity. When he was younger, it was apparent he had “inherited” (or discovered) the world of the arts. He was a natural on stage and began exploring various avenues of acting, writing, film making, directing, producing ... whether it was theater or film, he was somehow involved. Brian has taken his talents into many directions -- most noteworthy, his current passion for performance or conceptual art. When he speaks about his “projects” I am most astounded by his range of creativeness -- there’s no limit to what he can do or imagine. To think, I gave “birth” to this incredible individual. (I’m beyond amazed!)
My daughter, Adrienne, has also developed a strong passion for the arts. She has been a dancer, actor and director. She has spent countless hours doing “back of the house” work for theatrical productions including sound and light operator, assistant stage manager and stage manager. Her creative energy is only matched by her skills to coordinate productions, organize schedules and keep things running -- a simple description of a stage manager. Adrienne came into this world as a very tiny person. (At birth, she weighed a “whopping” two pounds, 14 ounces.) However, despite her petite size, she is a giant when it comes to creativity, tenacity, determination and a passion for living life to the fullest. Wow! And I gave birth to this special individual. (How did I do it?)
I have never figured out how Brian and Adrienne became so “incredible.” Maybe that’s because it just happened. One day I was holding this helpless little baby and the next, I was watching this incredibly talented person perform on stage. Or, I was looking at a painting he or she created or watching them cue actors for a production. Maybe it was when I saw a film that Brian worked on or when I first saw Adrienne head to the back of the theater to begin her role as SM. Each of those moments was so special and when I look back, it’s with such happiness and pride.
When I try to glance the future, I see so many wonderful moments ahead. Adrienne got married on January 1, 2011 to Jason McIntosh. They will celebrate their first wedding anniversary on 1/1/12 by casting off on a cruise aboard the Carnival Dream. (The first of many “dreams” to come true for them as a couple.) Brian, meanwhile, has big plans for 2012. And while I would rather not share all the details, I can “say” that he will be heading off in a new direction - and I cannot wait to hear about all the wonderful things that will happen once he is established and ready to make his mark.
Brian and Adrienne are a “big” part of my life and a “huge” reason why I have worked so hard at “surviving.” I realize I have so much to live for... here in the present, I am having fun. And the future, it’s so bright that I may need extra “dark” shades just to “see” all the exciting things to come.
When the “ball drops on New Year’s Eve” and everyone suddenly thinks about the past year (with flashbacks, etc.) and then looks into the “eye” of 2012, I will be smiling with happiness. Trust me, my life is not perfect. (If you know someone living the perfect life, I would love hearing about it.) I am not always smiling and happy. (I have my “time restrained” pity parties.) But, when I take into account the total picture of my life --(subtracting out any negatives) it’s absolutely fabulous! It’s spectacular! It’s supercalfraglicexoalpdous!