What does happiness look like? Again, see below.
This is me, walking from the starting line to the finish line of the Long Branch Half Marathon - as a spectator. One of my greatest friends, Heather, was running it that day and I was able to spend the day filled with excitement and anticipation of her crossing the finish line. It was a beautiful sunny, but cold, day. So of course, the Boho Bandeau came with me. It served many purposes that day. It covered my ears, warmed my neck and was a bracelet at one point!
Why was it so amazing to be a bystander at this half marathon? Two years ago I was healthy enough to run the New Jersey Marathon which was held at the same location. I loved and hated every moment of that marathon. All 26.2 miles. Last year, not only was I not healthy enough to run the full marathon, I wasn't even healthy enough to go watch someone run it. This year however, I am slowly getting my life back. I may not have been running at the Long Branch Half Marathon, but I was there. I was alive and present and able to cheer Heather on. I was able to breathe in the ocean air and search the crowds of runners until I spotted her right at the end. I was able to be ok not running. I was just happy to exist and spend the day with my friend.
I think when you have gone through a traumatic event, no matter how hard you fight it, you change. Some things for the better, some things for the worse, but you definitely change. I don't stress out as much as I used to at little things. I open my eyes a little more and realize everyone is fighting some kind of battle and just because it doesn't show on the outside, it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt just as badly on the inside. I have learned to sit back and watch my kids play. I have learned to be a little more myself and a little less what everyone expects me to be.
I do worry about cancer coming back - I think that is natural. For the first few months when treatment ended I felt like each headache must mean the cancer spread and my doctors didn't catch it. Every new ache or pain must mean it is cancer. But weeks pass and life happens and it doesn't stay in the front of your mind anymore. I now go whole weeks without a single doctor appointment! In time it will be easier to feel like I do have my life back. Each day is a new opportunity to forget about the parts of our past that are scary.
One final thing - for yourself or your daughters - when you're on the beach and your hair is blowing around but you don't want to wear a hat? A ponytail tucked in to a Boho Bandeau does the trick! My hair has a long way to go until my Boho Bandeau can hold my ponytail in, but as Heather always says, find the silver lining. My silver is that I am alive to watch my beautiful children grow.