He lived in LA for ten years before moving to DC and you know that old quote about leaving California before it makes you soft? Too late. I know, I know, there aren't a lot of people who really *love* winter, but he hates it with a depth and passion I usually see reserved for bedbugs and pedophiles.
That's all just to say that after four solid weeks of snow and freezing rain and the kind of icy winds that cut through your soul, he's gone from merely cranky to downright despondent. I go back and forth between trying to cheer him up by plying him with chocolate, and telling him to put on his big boy pants and suck it up until April.
Then I remembered something my very wise friend Jen Steinman told me last March. I was visiting New York after weeks of holing up at my sister's house, dealing with various facets of small estate law and trying to wrap my brain around life with without my momma. I was talking to Jen about what was next, what the future might hold, when I would come back to New York, back to my "normal" life. "Slow down" she said, "You've just been through the ringer. Think of it like this: you're in the middle of your winter. Spring will come again when it's time, and then you can break out the sundress and flip flops and dance in the street. Right now you need to let yourself put on flannel pajamas and hibernate." I loved that image. And it was a total relief. The truth was I had no *idea* how to get back to normal -- or what that even looked like.
By May I was feeling a little lighter. My sister had her baby and all that new life
goodness was like the first whiff of spring. Two days later I had my biopsy and got the news that would knock me back into the cave for another nine months.
I've never actually been a bear, but I can imagine that after sleeping in one position in the dark for a whole season, your muscles get stiff and your senses get dulled and when you first stick your head out of the cave, the sunlight hurts your eyes. That's kind of of how I feel about the end of chemo and the beginning of the rest of my life.
This weekend, all of my hibernating came to a head in a little emotional breakdown that basically looked a lot like me sitting on the couch and crying for an hour straight. I felt like I had lost all perspective and like I couldn't take one more minute of winter. Kinda like...Charlie.
Don't you just hate it when your own words come back to bite you in the ass? Empathy is a great equalizer that way.
As Charlie put it sometimes it's not about making the best of it, or sucking it up. Sometimes you've just got to wait it out and hold on until spring. And as I sit here, hooked up to the drip for chemo session #11, I can almost hear the birds chirping. So here's what I"m gonna do: I"m gonna fix a nice cup of hot cocoa and then change into my big girl pants -- the flannel ones. Because let's face it - spring may be just around the corner, but it's still cold outside.