I’ve been feeling rather nostalgic lately so you can expect to read about some defining moments of my life over the next few months. I’m not so sure today’s post actually counts as a defining moment, but the memory signifies a major turning point in my life.
Two years ago at this time Todd and I were in Long Beach, California. He had a conference there and I tagged along as I often did with his business trips. Todd had flown to Chicago the previous Sunday, taking with him only a carry on bag for his one day meeting on Monday. The plan was I’d bring the rest of his clothes with me since I’d be needing the big suitcase anyway. Our flights met in Salt Lake City Tuesday and then we flew to Long Beach together.
It wasn’t until we got to the hotel that I realized I had completely forgotten all his clothes – the business clothes he was going to need for three days of meetings. I don’t know why I laugh in these situations, knowing he’s going to be less than pleased. But I do, and I did, and the more I laughed I think the angrier he got, which only made me laugh harder. So we walked for literally miles, looking for some type of clothing store. The only one we found was a West Coast Chopper’s store and he didn’t think leather pants would be appropriate. Turns out if we’d only turned right at the corner we would have run into all kinds of shops within a block of the hotel. It all turned out fine and he ended up with some nice new clothes. So I think I actually did him a favor.
Thursday was St. Patrick’s Day and we took my very Irish friend, Sheila, out to dinner and had a wonderful time. Friday evening we had dinner with other friends, John and Cathy, laughed until we cried, walked around Long Beach and saw one of the dumbest movies I think I’ve ever seen (Constantine). Saturday was another day of hanging out with John and Cathy and their three beautiful girls and Sunday we flew back home.
It was a great trip, a carefree time, and the memory will forever be precious to me. We had no idea that the following week would set things in motion that would drastically change our lives. Two life-altering events that were completely separate yet have become one experience to my mind.
It’s hard for me to describe the feeling of frenzy that happened after that. It was like being caught in a whirlwind and before we could jump out and calm down we were picked up by a devastating tornado, spinning us in two different directions.
Week 1 – Todd is given the opportunity to interview with a similar-type company near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
Week 2 – Todd interviews with the company in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
Week 3 – Todd and I both fly to Pennsylvania to get an idea of whether or not we’d even want to move there.
Week 4 – I have my yearly gynecological appointment and a lump in my left breast that needs checking.
Week 5 – Todd accepts the new job and resigns the old job.
Week 5 – I’m diagnosed with breast cancer.
Week 6 – I have a left mastectomy.
Week 8 – Todd moves to Pennsylvania.
Week 10 – I start chemotherapy.
Our trip to Long Beach had absolutely nothing to do with these things, but in my mind I view it as the last page in an easy and nearly perfect chapter of our lives. Sort of that last deep breath before you plunge into the frigid water, but at least then you know what you’re about to get yourself into.
There were times when I thought we were spinning out of control, and I suppose we were. But that was okay because even then we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that God WAS in control. And I see our little getaway to Long Beach – visiting with good friends we don’t see often; several hours of responsibility-free solitude to read; time to reconnect as a husband and wife, not a mom and dad – as a gift. Like a last little vacation before starting a new and grueling job. And THAT’S why the memory of such a seemingly insignificant trip means so much to me.