We are deep into our summer vacation… from cancer.
Our fun started with a family trip to Montana to explore this year’s National Park, Glacier. Then, 5 days “beyond all roads” at a remote ranch where the north and south fork of the Sun River meet. Literally 10 miles from the closest road, you only access this little slice of heaven by boat or horseback. We fly fished, road horses, hiked, ate delicious food, sat by the fire and simply took in the majesty of the Bob Marshall wilderness. It was the first time our family has truly unplugged- there was no cell phone or wifi service and we all took a big deep breath. It was remarkable how much we needed to not look at a screen, check email or be “available.” Instead of posting about our adventures – we simply experienced each day with those right around us. And, like other adventures cancer wasn’t invited. We could only bring one 50 pound duffel… and it takes up way more room than that. Unplugging from it all and connecting with each other. What a special gift. And, the trout. Our children are ruined for fishing after this. Practically every cast of the fly was a sparkling rainbow. I even landed a cut throat worthy of a painting. Released it back into the mountain run off with a simple intention of freedom and thanked it for playing. I watched my mother and father-in-law wade in the icy water to find the perfect trout hole and horseback ride for hours through fields of wildflowers. They put this trip together to take their children and grandchildren on an adventure to share what they love together – fishing and riding. Watching them, I ached to my core to be able to do something as special with Jay and our boys one day. Quickly shaking away this dream and wiping away the tears… for the mountain, stream and laughter before me right then. Living in the moment. Holding onto a little bit of hope for what might be…
Now we are settled in to our “summer home” in Michigan. I have no idea what time or day it is. My day is marked by my morning workout with friends and cocktail hour. Daily choices… swimming or sailing? Fishing or paddle boarding? all of the above?! Jay and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary with a sail on the little sunfish I taught him to sail on when we were dating. We went for a run and took the kids by the big red barn where we were married. We celebrated my parents 70th birthday year with a surprise at our annual family gathering at my grandma’s home that has been a family cottage for 4 generations. “Plewka-palooza” as it has come to be known. I watched my grandma watching her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Over 45+ of us all there because of her. What a blessing to be able to look upon all that love. Might I see a grandchild…?
We gathered with my mom’s extended family the following weekend for a day on the shores of Lake Michigan and released lanterns into the starry night to celebrate moments big and small for our family – two engagements, birthdays, anniversaries. As I watched the light fade into the sky, I gave thanks for another year of stability and the gift of health.
The chance to travel, unplug, spend time with family and friends are not lost on me. When so much of this world seems consumed with hate- I wake each day to the sounds of waves and a prayer of gratitude. Thankful my life allows me this time together with people I love. Aware this could all change in an instant. But, instead of focusing on the precariousness, I live each day. Fully, gratefully, intentionally.
I know many people can’t do these kinds of things. Cancer, commitments, complications. There is a lot of pain and sadness in the world. Life isn’t all sunshine and lapping waves. Find some joy and celebrate it. Cherish the moment right before you. Jump in the ice cold water – let it take your breath away- feel how alive you truly are. Love!
We are living happily ever after… one day at a time.