If you’ve followed me for the past year, you know that I’m a breast cancer survivor. Lately, I’ve been noticing how much I simultaneously want to forget that the whole thing ever happened–and I also want to remember. I want to forget because I’m human. I want to push away the pain of the doctor’s visits, the tests, the physical changes, the worry about recurrence.
But, I sense that sweeping it under some mental rug isn’t the best idea. Because if I remember my breast cancer diagnosis wisely, then I remember how grateful I am to be alive.
The truth is, I never quite felt the aliveness of life until this diagnosis. Once I could palpably feel how this life will go away someday, it was like a switch flipped and the simple acting of living just seemed ridiculously fun. Painting my nails pink or eating sushi with friends or going to a yoga class. Worrying about my “career” or why my kid won’t let me brush her teeth or what kind of flowers to plant in my garden–I now see how all of these things are a giant privilege. Some days it feels just plain silly how much amazing stuff we get to do in the course of a life.
I still get grumpy more often than I should. I still bitch and moan about ridiculous shit. I still worry uselessly. But when I remember, when a little voice kicks in that says, “This could go away at any moment…” I wake up again. And I’m grateful.
And here’s the micro list of what I’m grateful for. I like using my Instagram feed to look back over my year. For the past few years I’ve used Artifact Uprising to create a yearly Instagram book. I highly recommend this. They do a beautiful job and it’s super easy.
When I look back at my feed I remember how all of those small, mundane moments are so meaningful. So here goes. I’m grateful for:
• All of our travels – to LA, London, Ohio, and Hawaii.
• Saturday mornings at home and cozy breakfasts with our family.
• All of the fun things we get to do now that Sofia is older like making sparkly Easter eggs, going to high tea at Fortnum & Mason, or looking at fairy gardens.
• Rainy day boots and toddler topknots and Sofia licking ice cream cones.
• Spring peonies and palm trees, palm trees, palm trees.
• Women who make me laugh and who inspire me and who are kicking ass at making the world a better place. (Hello Amy Schumer, Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown.)
• Ladylike shoes and Onzie printed yoga pants and great outerwear. (I live in a place where you must love great outerwear.)
• Coming back to my yoga practice full force and feeling how magically the body heals itself.
• My husband. Because. He’s the best.
• Sofia Sofia, Sofia, Sofia. I’m grateful that she’s growing so tall and eating butter by the handful. I’m grateful for how she grabs me and kisses me at random times. I’m grateful for how often she says she wants to spend “allllll day with you Mama.” And I’m grateful that she spends half the day in preschool so that I have some time to work on projects of my own.
I’m grateful that she has a little toy laptop that she enjoys “taking to work.” (I like that’s already planning her career 🙂 I’m grateful for how connected she is to her Dad. I’m grateful for the sound of her voice first thing in the morning.
I’m grateful for the other day when we were playing grocery store and she was leading me around our living room by the elbow. It wasn’t just the game, it was that I could imagine us traveling through Europe someday, her leading me around by the elbow and showing me the sights. I imagine she’ll be simultaneously comforted and totally annoyed by her batty old mom. And me? I’ll just be…grateful.
What are you grateful for?