I have 5 more weeks of freedom from post-cancer follow-ups while I wait for the toe scare to grow out. That is, 5 weeks until the next PET scan. I intend to savor this freedom by doing everything that I would normally do. Normal things remain the most satisfying things, even almost a full year after I completing cancer treatment.
In addition to the cancer freedom, I've discovered another exciting freedom, this time in the parenting aspect of my life. My little ones are 4.5 and 2.75 years old, so you can imagine how much work they have required of the hubbie and I up to this point. As the youngest, Eleanor, approaches her 3rd birthday, I am glimpsing a future that includes tiny bits of reclaimed freetime. Lately this has been occurring even while kids are yet awake <gasp>!
A week or so ago, the girls and I went out to dinner with my dear friend S. and her darling baby C. S. turned in her dissertation on Wednesday, and so dinner was our celebration. Having written a dissertation myself, the two biggest moments for me were when I first submitted the final thing to my major professor, and when I at last submitted the revised final thing to the graduate school a few weeks later. I therefore felt strongly about helping S. celebrate this particular milestone and not overlook it in favor of numerous subsequent milestones. Our dinner approach was practical if not sophisticated: location, cafe; time, early evening; duration, short. We both needed to be home before the pre-bedtime fussiness began. I don't know if it was because of or in spite of our careful planning, but at dinner an amazing thing happened: S. and I enjoyed an adult conversation. Sure, we engaged with the kids, but they did a fantastic job entertaining themselves. Azalea chatted at C. and drew on her magnetic drawing pad, and Eleanor played peek-a-boo with C. and played with a doll. For her part, C. was mesmerized by my girls, and that was all she needed. In short, the kids were more interested in each other than they were in their mothers. A novel occurrence indeed! Our evening was so delightful and painless that S. and I resolved to do this more often; time will tell if the stars were uniquely aligned on this night or if this is part of our children growing up.
One evening last week my ladies presented another opportunity for wakeful parental freedom. We went outside after dinner to play a game of "hot-and-cold". This game is supposed to entail the hiding of an object by one player, and as the other player(s) search for the object the first player tells them if they are "hot" (near to the object) or "cold" (far from the object). Azalea and Eleanor adore this game, but they make no mention of the words "hot" or "cold" during the game although they persist in referring to the game as "hot-and-cold". Here's their version: one girl hides a stuffed Mizzou tiger in the lilac bush while the other girl blatantly and acceptably observes from the patio. Once the tiger is "hidden", the tiger-hider shouts "Ready!", after which she bolts for the patio as her sister makes a beeline for the tiger. Needless to say although a parent originally helped establish the essence of this game, clearly parental input is no longer required for its execution. And so I sat on the patio for awhile and observed the game until I realized that I could simultaneously weed a portion of the flower bed. After awhile I stood up and weeded the whole flower bed. Pretty soon the game of "hot-and-cold" evolved into an elaborate pretend-animal-rescue game for which again I was not needed. So I got out a trowel and planted some recent transplants. Then I watered the transplants, and all of the other plants that looked in need. By this time 45 minutes had gone by and it was time to head inside for bedtime.
It's a marvelous change that I am not yet accustomed to, as evidenced by Azalea having to ask me NOT to play with them on occasion. What a treat to do my chores before 9 pm!