You know what cancer took away? That extra bit of energy and motivation that defines a midwesterner. You know who has officially reclaimed her energy and motivation? Me, right here.
This was one heck of a trying week on the home front. The adjustment to preschool/daycare is progressing, but not without wounding us. Thursday was by far the roughest; I think both kids expected this whole preschool/daycare thing to be temporary, and plus they were exhausted from the stimulation and stress of the previous three days. All of the stress and exhaustion translated to extreme crabbiness and sleeplessness at home. I needed extra patience, extra empathy, and still more patience. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Ian is having a ball at the U, which helps the rest of us keep our transitional suffering in perspective. And the kids are adjusting already. When I picked Azalea up today she said, "Mom, at first I didn't like preschool very much, but now I LOVE it!" Eleanor's light is not as bright yet, but she too is turning the corner. The first few times I picked her up from daycare, she was quaking with fear and half sobbed the chant, "Go home now, go home now!" This was very hard for me to bear. But today she was consolable, and I witnessed her having fun before she saw me in the doorway. Already the wounds of being torn from daddy's care are healing. The best part is that I don't foresee any scars, but it was a tiring week nonetheless.
Despite the changes on the home front, I totally rocked it on the science front. I finished a manuscript last Friday and had numerous discussions about it this week. All week I chugged along on an analysis project that I've been de-prioritizing (isn't that just a fancier and more justifiable word than "procrastinate"?) all summer, and it's almost done. Also, I had this great idea for a review article and I've already acquired collaborators and outlined the manuscript. And finally, I'm working with a talented bench scientist to keep the research side of things moving forward.
In my view, my biggest accomplishments for the week are the things that I was physically unable to do during cancer treatment. I cleaned the bathroom, INCLUDING THE TUB. Yea. Not gonna lie, our tub only gets cleaned semi-annually, but I justify this because it doesn't suffer daily use. You can judge me, whatever, but the point is that I cleaned the tub this week (so now is the time to visit). Also, I began a deck-refurbishing project that I had promised in June. For my mother-in-law's (Lori's) birthday I had said that I'd refinish her deck. She has been so wonderful, helpful, and supportive throughout our relationship, but particularly during the whole cancer business. I therefore decided to do something special for her birthday, which I thought could be cleaning and sealing the deck that she hates. You may ask, if she hates it why would I refurbish it? Well, it would be a huge project to replace the deck with something else, and it's actually a very nice deck if you can look past the moss and mildew. So tonight I purchased supplies at Ace (the helpful place indeed!) and scrubbed in the dwindling daylight. The results were instant, dramatic, and gratifying. I broke a sweat, drank a beer, sprayed some water, had a ball.
Lori has a mantra about "chop wood, carry water" that means something about the fulfillment and joy that comes from everyday Work. I really felt that this week. There is joy to be had in seemingly mundane tasks, and experiencing a health crisis brings this brand of joy to the forefront.