Monday, April 15, 2013

The New Normal

Before I got sick, I spent most weekends by getting up around 8:00 am, eating breakfast, getting dressed, and working in the garden.  I would do that until lunch time, then come in, eat, shower and then do fun stuff (or laundry).  I would weed, or mulch, or plant, or harvest, or water, or just do whatever was needed to keep our garden growing.  Last year was the year I tried mulching parts of our garden with hay our cow had been sleeping on.  I cannot tell you how many mornings I got up to drive my son's pickup down by where the hay way, used a pitchfork to load the bed of the truck up, and drive it over to the garden to mulch with.  It was great exercise, and as someone who loves to garden, it was very satisfying.  It also made a huge difference in not only how often we had to water during the 2nd year of a drought, but also in how many onions and potatoes we harvested and how few weeds I had to pull.

This year, it's different.  I don't have the strength that I did last year, nor the endurance.  I have to be sure to wear protective gear because my skin is sensitive to the sun thanks to chemo.  But by golly, Sunday afternoon after church, my family and I were out there in the garden, planting onions, and I was raking up hay that I didn't get spread out last year and using it to cover soaker hoses and around baby onions.  I felt...almost normal. 

A few days ago I canned asparagus.  We have a bed that now in it's 5th year, produces more asparagus than even we can eat.  So I started canning again.  And yes  - it made me feel almost normal again.  I pray that we'll grow enough tomatoes this year so that I can make more hot sauce becuase I'm down to just a case of pints. 

Saturday I cleaned our guest bath.   I'm pretty sure that the sink and counter in there hadn't been washed since I came home from the hospital the first time.  I only know it was done then because my husband told me he hired someone to come clean the house before I came home (and thanks so much LeeAnn, for helping him to find someone to do that!). 

That was in November.  It was a very icky sink.  The mirror wasn't a whole lot better.  I won't discuss the toilet.  Luckily my darling hubby took care of that for me.  Boys are icky.

I am now officially the laundry person again.  For the hubs and I.  I'm still a firm believer that teenagers can do their own laundry, unless I need more white socks so I have a full load to wash.  But if my husband is wearing clean clothes, it's because I wash, dried, then put them away.

Doing laundry, working in the garden, canning vegetables, cleaning bathrooms.  These are things that so many look on as chores, griping about having to do it every week, or how ever often they normally do these things.  But for me - or maybe even anyone battling cancer and regaining their strength - every chore they can do feels more like normal.  More like life before it was shattered by their diagnosis.  Nowadays, even vacuuming isn't seen as such a horrible thing - because I wasn't allowed to do it for months, and now I can.   

It ain't glamorous.  But I'm grateful for every chore I can do.  For every step closer to my new normal. 

Did I mention that after having to take care of all the housework and laundry for 4 or 5 months, the hubs *really* appreciates all that I do now?  And that's awesome. 

So - next time you have an icky sink to clean, think a second before you gripe about having to clean it.  Be grateful for the strong, healthy body you have and it's abilty to clean that sink.

Then for heaven's sake, make your teenagers clean it for you.  They need to earn gas money anyway!

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