Sunday, February 20, 2011

Road Trip Lessons

A very nice two day ride back with Casey from Boulder, CO. Thus the absence of posts. We made excellent time thanks to good weather. I did learn the the Best "Western Plus" in Boulder meant, "plus noise". Not what I was expecting. The eastern part of Wyoming is pretty bleak country. I had not realized how industrialized Billing, MT was - it appears to be the coal capital of Montana, where coal=electricity. Of course, we had plenty of time to talk, about this change for him and what he's thinking. The crisis with Megan is obviously the trigger event, but he's also using it as a real opportunity to think through his life and what he wants to be, do, and how he can have an impact. He also doesn't want to have any regrets, and being away from Meagan during her treatment was too difficult. I'm so impressed by his new gravitas and thoughtfulness, but one comment stuck out in my mind particularly.

He said, "Dad, I want to fling myself at life". Wow. If we could all do that, what would our lives be like? Cancer has a way of sharpening your thinking and shifting your priorities. It certainly has for me, although admittedly at my stage of life the priority shift has been about what I need to do to support Meagan. In the case of a 19 year old, it means something else. It means life is short (relatively speaking and one's own can be short with respect to expected lifespan), there are great adventures and experiences out there, the system can pigeonhole you and put you on a track to unhappiness - so break the mold, step back and decide consciously and carefully what you want to do based on who you are and what your passions are.

So our job as parents in this case I think is to provide unconditional love and support. I expect there will be plenty of self propulsion - I am not worried about lack of activity or not taking responsibility for his actions. It does mean stepping back and letting him dictate both the process and the direction. Offering perspective when asked. Helping him understand disease progression (or stabilization or remission) so he can plan and making sure he will trust me to let him know when he might be needed.

I can't wait to see where he flings himself......

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