Four days to Forget Cancer. A year ago, I wrote those words in this post about a long weekend spent at Priest Lake.
It's still true.
It's still my place.
This July, Mom and Dad rented a house on the beach for a full week...
Our own little spot to master sand castle engineering.
Clear, shallow waters for hours of splashing.
My mom's collection of no less than 37 floaties. (My personal favorite: an oversized tube with a mesh bottom so I could sit in the cool lake water, complete with cup holder for a vodka tonic.)
Kayaks and Huckleberries.
Birthday Cupcakes and Kites.
S'mores and Sunsets.
A sprawling deck for blowing bubbles, and long, lazy dinners with plenty of food and wine.
Our week away came on the heels of some of our biggest home improvement projects so far. Including the kitchen! We. Were. Done. Once Jason finished installing new flooring and a tile backsplash, I painted the counter tops (yes, you read that right) with a DIY faux granite kit. Since I wanted marble instead of granite, the kit's "three easy steps" took me about 16 hours to complete.
Put a fork in us!
This year we were able to share Priest Lake with Jason for the first time. Even Lauren and her boyfriend joined us from the farm in Illinois for a few days.
It was a week of many hands make light work.
In the kitchen, of course. But also with the kids. With doting adults out-numbering pre-schoolers two to one, I truly felt like I was on vacation. And as a mom of Littles, I think that is a rare feeling. As a mom of Littles who also deals with Inflammatory Breast Cancer, it was a gift.
Cancer is striking more young people all the time. Students and young professionals. Mommies and Daddies. As treatment advances, young survivors have the promise of living years, even decades after diagnosis.
But treatment is not the same as cure. Many face a lifetime of managing cancer as a chronic illness, rather than that thing that happened that one time.
I know, because I am one of them.
I once thought of Balance as a destination. That I would know when I had Arrived.
I no longer believe this is true.
I now see balance for what it is. A hike. With peeks and valleys, even switch-backs. There are days when the woods are thick. When I'm bogged down by juggling scans and appointments. Or getting ready for the first week of school (eek!) with no thoughts to spare for cancer. But there are vistas, too. When I look over the view and I am proud of my efforts as an activist and a mom and haven't skipped any yoga classes or eaten any cookies.
If you've ever tackled an arduous hike, you know that deluxe feeling when you remove your heavy boots, your sweaty socks, and submerge your feet in the ice-cold mountain stream.
Our week at Priest Lake was like that for me.
Floating in my tube. Sipping vodka tonic (extra lime). Spreading on the sunscreen like frosting.
No appointments. No guilt.
For one entire week, I Forgot Cancer.