Having cancer is like having the hardest job in the world. It takes over your whole life, and the lives of those who love you. Anne’s life revolves around doctors, drugs, treatments, and trying to cope with the effects of the disease and the treatments. But sometimes, mixed up in all of the process of living with cancer, come beautiful pieces of Normal.
Monday, after spending a long day at the Cancer Center, we came home and collapsed on opposite ends of Anne’s couch, which, thankfully, is the most comfortable couch in America. It wasn’t long before Lizzie, Anne’s 13-year old daughter burst in from spending the day with the neighbors, twin girls who were having their 14th birthday. The night before, Lizzie and a friend had posted a giant number 14 in the twins’ yard. Once Lizzie got home, complete bedlam followed. Before long, the twins and their parents and another of Lizzie’s friends were all in Anne’s den and the twins were opening birthday gifts from each other and Lizzie. I wish I could describe the hilarity involved in this process, but if you have spent much time with teenage girls, you will understand that to describe it would not be adequate. Let’s just say that a pair of Tom’s, wrapped separately, placed in a Victoria’s Secret box and wrapped, and then put in a cooler with exercise weights and wrapped again, can be the funniest thing in the world. After the gift opening and accompanying squealing, the four girls stayed and Anne and I got to watch The Bachelorette with them. More squealing, commentary on all of the men involved, opinions about which ones were greasy and which were cute, and repeated talking to the tv, urging one of the men to hurry up and kiss the girl. I’m pretty sure that there is nothing like watching that show with a bunch of teenage girls to make you forget your cares. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more, Lizzie and her friends, or Anne, who has learned to cherish any Piece of Normal that she can get, or I, who love Anne and Lizzie unspeakably, and also miss my own girls when they were that age.
It’s those moments, those Pieces of Normal, that can mean the most. We all need to cherish them and realize how priceless they are.