We called my daughter Erin just as we were about to hit the road, trying to salvage a couple days of a 5-day invitation to Nantucket. I had not talked to her in 48 hours, a long time for our family unit.
“So, did you hear? We met with a doctor and she says that what I’ve got is treatable. It’s good news. Isn’t that great?”
“Yeah, Mom. Mom? Guess what?! We went to the candy store in Nantucket today. I got a GIANT box of Warheads! Bye, Mom.”
Note to self: Don’t get too self-involved about the cancer, there are important things going on that are not cancer, the candy room at the Force 5 Water Sports store in Nantucket Town, for instance. Here are some others:
Sitting on the back deck of the Hyline ferry from Hyannis, cradling a cup of coffee, feeling the cool-warm wind blowing though my hair, trying to find the line between cloud and seas, understanding why warships are painted battleship gray.
Passing Brant Point lighthouse, taking in the billionaire’s yachts, the residential mosaic of gray shingles and white trim, the white New England steeples built with whaling money.
Walking the cobblestone streets of Nantucket Town, marveling at the concentration of Lily Pulitzer shift dresses, and at how many garments can be adorned with embroidered whales, anchors or palm trees.
Listening to crickets and birds on the deck of a friend’s gray, shingled summer house.
Drinking a Singapore Sling at two in the afternoon and watching kids play in the manicured garden of the Wauwinet Hotel.
Enjoying the simplicity of chopping an onion for clam sauce.
Feeling the softness of my child’s skin as she asks to be cuddled.
Watching 9-year-olds put on a play with “puppets” made of forks with linguine hair.
Talking, talking, talking, with friends.
Leaning on a windowsill in the wee hours, hearing the gentle roar of a thunderstorm hitting the roof, watching the Sankaty lighthouse flash through the storm.
Watching the sunrise bleed across the sky.
Ordering an embarrassing number of fried clams at a roadside clam shack just before we leave the Cape. Eating them all, and only feeling a tiny bit guilty about that.
For 24 hours, it was not all about cancer. That was good.