Healthy enough to travel!

Last week I was in Oregon for my brother’s graduation.  I am SO PROUD of John for his work at Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine and I am SO PROUD of his wife, Anna, for her work in architecture at the University of Oregon.  I wasn’t well enough to travel to their wedding last fall (but “attended” via ustream, thanks to my brother’s new brother-in-law!), but I put this on my calendar in January and have been working up to it all Spring.

I traveled.

I flew, with the kids and husband, to Oregon last week, and had amazing adventures.  We visited Monmouth Falls, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (on $2 day! with an amazing exhibit on the technology behind the Chronicles of Narnia films!), we went to graduation and had Dungeness crab for lunch afterwards.  We drove by Powell’s Books, and I ducked inside for a five-minute grab of children’s books (which was awesome!).  We took family pictures and giggled and laughed as the photographer tried to get all eight of us to smile (eyes open!) at the same time.

We sat and talked around their tumbled glass firepit, and the children played Bocci ball with John until we all were exhausted.

The next day, we went to the beach, where we played in the sand and walked on the rocks and built tiny dams in the tidepools until the waves washed them away.  My little ones scrambled up a terribly high rock while the three of us, my husband, brother, and I stood below.  My brother was there for safety, he a certified river rescue guide in addition to a brand-new doctor of medicine, and I of course was there as the inwardly nervous outwardly cheering mom.  They made it to the top, and pumped their fists in the air with achievement, and my heart sang for them and the experience.  They tried something hard, and they accomplished it.

And that is what it is all about some days.  Pushing each other to try something hard, and celebrating the accomplishments.  We’ve been working on this with little things at home, things like perfecting age-appropriate behavior that has sometimes suffered as we get nervous or sad or scared, and eliminating thumbsucking and armsucking and physical comforts that have helped my little boys cope through the years, trying to replace those things with more age-appropriate coping mechanisms, and helping them see themselves as strong.

They are strong, you know.  They are so strong, and I am so proud of these little ones for all they’ve done and all they’ve been through, and I’m learning not to coddle them so much, for they are strong, and they can do this.

We all can do this.

I believe in them, and I believe in John and Anna as they set off to make a new life in another state, and I am learning to believe in myself, that I can spend this time LIVING not dying and clutching magical moments out of nowhere, making them for the children of course, but also for my husband and me, for we matter too, and I know that sounds ridiculous, unless maybe you’re a mother too, who wants everything for her kids and sometimes, somehow forgets to still want it for herself.

At a little store on the coast in Florence, Oregon, I discovered the legend of the Japanese floats.  For many years, these glass balls, used to float fishing nets, would wash up along the Oregon coast and come to rest in the sand, a thing of unexpected beauty for early risers to find on their morning walk along the beach.  They are rarely found now, but a few years ago, a local glassmaker began to reproduce them, and volunteers would sneak out to the beaches and hide them among the grass, or the tidepools, or the rocks.  They added beauty to the world.

There were lupines everywhere, and that reminded me of the lovely children’s story (Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney) about the lupine lady, who wanted to travel and see far away places, to come home and live by the sea, and to do something to make the world more beautiful.  I read this to the children a lot when they were toddlers, sometimes reading it “to do something to make the world better,” or “to do something to make a difference.”  I should get it out and read it again, to myself, the soothing words sweeping over the quiet room, reassuring me that we need not all do everything ourselves.  Not all of us will be the greatest physicists in the world; in fact, only one will be.  But all of us, even those the world labels “terminal” and difficult and who some would rather not see, all of us can still make a difference.

I travel next week to the Type A Parent conference as the guest of Bloganthropy, an organization that recognizes women bloggers using social media to support a good cause.  The cause is cancer action, and I’m being recognized for encouraging you to join the Army of Women.  I’m so grateful for the recognition, because it brings more attention to the Army of Women and to the LympheDIVA/Crickett’s Answer to Cancer partnership providing free lymphedema sleeves for those who need them, but I am equally grateful for the push that it gives me to push beyond my limitations and work a little harder.

Next week, I travel. Again.

I can’t wait to see what I learn there!

20 Responses to Healthy enough to travel!

  1. loran says:

    Wow Susan! So inspiring you are!! We LOVE OMSI…and Powell’s…and I’ve been to that little store in Florence and searched the beaches for the glass balls. Never found one yet, but when we return to Oregon for our annual family trip next month, I’ll look again. Thanks for the motivation on the thumbsucking (some days I feel that one goes so far the wrong way…) and for your amazing and inspiring motivation on life. You are LIVNG!! BEAUTIFULLY! And it makes me smile! Thank you!! xo

  2. justenjoyhim says:

    What a beautiful post. Thank you.

  3. *m* says:

    Susan, congrats on being one of only five finalists for the Bloganthropy awards! “Making a difference in their communities by giving voice to issues that matter to them and resonate with others” — indeed you do.

    Yet as amazing as your advocacy is, it is your approach to living and mothering that inspires and resonates with me most. Thank you again for sharing, and keep on pushing.

  4. Delora says:

    I thought you’d be interested to know I signed up for my first Army of Women study (the urine biomarker one that went out a few weeks ago). I never would have known about this effort without you.

  5. Linda says:

    You did it! Hurray! We know it was a special time for all of you.

  6. Hooray! I am so glad you got to spend this special time with your family – I know how important it was to you and how much you were looking forward to it. Congratulations to John & Anna!
    I hope you have a great time at the conference, too – congrats on making the award finals 🙂

  7. Krista says:

    LOVE the Oregon Coast! 🙂 We have 4 floats from Pyromania in Newport, one for each of the boys, one we bought on our honeymoon, and one for the lost babies.
    So glad you had a great time!

  8. Sue Farrell says:

    You are one amazing woman, Susan. Travel safely next week.

  9. Ginny Mason says:

    Susan, you continue to amaze me with your words and life. How wonderful you could travel to Oregon and have all those memorable times with family. We ALL need those times, cancer or not. You have learned so many hard but important things during these years and your children will be richer people as a result.

    You have certainly learned to make lemonade out of these life lemons and we are all grateful that you are using your skills to make a difference in so many lives.

    Hugs and safe travels as you continue on this journey.

  10. “…for we matter too…” In all the reading I do on your blog and thinking/praying other times, I so rarely have thought about your relationship with your husband. How fortunate he is to have a wife who remembers that the two of you also matter. Right before I sat down to read my blogs tonight, I was looking at my children and marveling at the wonder of them. Your post reminded me that my husband, and my marital relationship also needs some marveling. Thanks for the reminder.

  11. Kami says:

    SO PROUD of YOU! Way to go lady, enjoy 🙂

  12. nancyspoint says:

    You are one busy woman! I’m glad the trip went so well. Congrats on being asked to speak at the upcoming conference. I’m sure you will do an amazing job. Very worthy causes there. Don’t forget to relax a little and enjoy the summer too!!

  13. Karen Hoover says:

    I’ve read your blog for a couple of years now. I find it so inspiring. I too have Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I was dx’d in 2009. Your courage is uplifting. Keeping life normal is sometimes hard, but you are doing a wonderful job. Keeping you and your family in my prayers.

  14. planetnomad says:

    What? You were here!! Wish we could have met for coffee. Glad you made it to Powell’s 🙂 (my happy place…)

  15. C. Mom says:

    So happy for you on so many levels! Can’t wait to see you at Type A!!! You are going to have quite a cheerleading section supporting you!

  16. Aunt Pat says:

    Glad you had a great trip . Sounds like had a lot of fun ,

    Take Care

  17. Lindsay says:

    You’re awesome, Susan! Every time I read your blog, I’m inspired to be the best parent I can be, because really, for all of us, every single moment counts. Thank you for this post.

  18. […] Healthy enough to travel! « Toddler Planet Healthy enough to travel Last week I was in Oregon for my brother's graduation. I am SO PROUD of John for his work at Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine and I am SO PROUD of his wife, Anna, […]

  19. You hit all my favorite places!!! And I never knew about the Japanese floats. Wow!

    So so SO happy you had a great time. So so SO happy you are going to Type A and I just love you.

  20. Fantastic! Have a wonderful time at the conference and congrats!!

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