I was going to title this post, A Quick One, but I know myself and my tendency to waffle on, rather well. And besides, that is exactly the point I want to make when I title this instead, Expectations...
Have you ever noticed how the hardest days or moments in life are so often when you were expecting one thing and then a whole lot of curve balls came your way? Like when you have a baby at home and think to yourself in the morning; 'I'll keep it simple today, just get the laundry on, finish the shopping list and get to the grocery store.' And then by mid-afternoon you're a raving mess because you haven't even made it our of your pyjama's?
It's always when I've had certain expectations of a day that I've struggled the most. Yet when I simply wake up and allow the day to evolve as it shall, I've been the most happy and content. I do feel there is a life lesson there. Stride through life with your expectations round your ankles and you'll be as happy as a newborn messing with it's parent's day.
I'm only half joking.
But this idea, one that was really a theme of my maternity leave's, has cropped up again on my chemo leave. Not just because I've set myself so many expectations that haven't come to fruition (paint the downstairs bathroom, finish kids baby books, build a raised garden box...) but because I've been rather irritable lately. For some reason, maybe because the end is in sight, I've allowed myself to raise my minds eye to the horizon and consider the future from here. And it's a little hard. I'm not entirely clear on why I feel more emotional now, but suffice to say, I've been a grouch for the last couple of weeks. As is the usual way, I have taken it out on my little family tribe. I found myself riding to collect Lox the other day and had left the house thinking that I was a chipper and balanced sort of gal, but then proceeded to mentally spew vitriol at every pedestrian I passed. I was shocked at my own bitterness. On the ride home with Lox, he began singing out loud with feeling,
"We're not going to take it! No! We're not going to take it! We're not going to take it...anymore!"
I'm not sure if it was a warning to the pedestrians or a directive to Mum.
Chemo 7 was last Thursday and I think I have now passed through the low days to begin the climb back to sub-normalcy before the final dose in two weeks time. It hurt, lots of bone pain in my legs, but bearable. I'm getting more tired, but not in a debilitating way. Granted, I did have a moment, on the afternoon of chemo, as I chased my chicken around the neighbour's back yard and screamed at Adelaide to chase the fox away, though she was crying hysterically, and I thought that maybe, just maybe, I had set myself unrealistic expectations. Perhaps it was too much to be on my own with the kids for three days over Chemo #7. I'd expected that I'd be tired after chemo but still able to manage the kids and even get to the Girl Guide pot luck picnic that night. I'd reassured Shea repeatedly that I'd be fine, that he really should go on his work trip. I'd not figured on a fox attacking our four chickens while I was baking cupcakes for the potluck dinner and then having to chase the extremely persistent fox away from the half dead bird he'd already mauled, while also trying to recover the one live bird I could see still running around.
I panicked, I'll admit it. I'm not sure I was thinking rationally, but I know that the mother bear instinct kicked in as I screamed like a banshee, running around the yard and hurling wood at the fox. Unfortunately I forgot to tend to my own children who were both crying, Adelaide panicking in the middle of the yard and Lox watching from the bedroom window. It was bit of a palarva.
One chicken died (and was thrown into the freezer in a garbage bag; I panicked again), while one was returned to the coop. Two were missing in action and were kind of left to their fate as we had a picnic to get to. Five hours later, home from the picnic and the dust settling, the kids were in bed and I was pleading with my belly to stomach a glass of wine for mental health's sake. Still thinking of my denied wine, I answered the door to my neighbour coming to tell me Charlie, one of our lost chickens, was walking home. Five hours later, unruffled, she returned to the coop. A chemo day miracle!
Friends, I was so tired that night. My expectations of that day were nothing like the eventuality. I managed to deal with the curve balls as they jumped into the backyard and attacked the chickens, but I was knackered by the end of it. Still though, I couldn't help but do one more search of the neighbourhood before bed, calling "here chook, chook, chook" as I went. If Charlie had come home after five hours, surely Amelia Chookheart might make it too? Alas, true to her name, she is still missing. Her fate unknown.
Should have expected it, I guess.