Learning to fly

March. The month, not the action.

This week my girls went back to school, and for the first time in years they are both at the same school. However it will only be for a year; this is the last year of school for my oldest. Her last year, and turning 18 in a few months, has made me slow down and focus on her. She is flapping and fluffing her wings with the thought of university, and the possibility of studying away. I would love to keep her close, but I know I have to teach her how to fly.

My youngest is adjusting to her new teacher and classmates, while taking over my studio creating in the evenings and weekends. With the confidence I gained last year in the craft fairs, and with a lot of help and encouragement from my youngest, I finally converted one of the rooms in the old cheese building into a sales room.

The room is the closest to our house and for years we have used it to store our excess “stuff”. The room really needed a clean, and this was partly my reason for converting it into a store. I took “before” pictures, but it is very embarrassing how bad it had gotten! I am a hoarder!

before corner

Before

after corner

After

before window

Before

after window

After

For now it is not open as a store but it is available to show my, (and my youngest’s) work. And we are full of dreams of opening on the weekends!

little store

I have also been busy dyeing wool in my solar oven and making neck warmers with chunky hand spun and recycled silk. I am lucky that my Dad likes silk shirts and that they don’t last him forever!

neckwarmer

neckwarmer2

With March here it is also time for a visit to Santiago and my eye doctor. I will have another scan and check up, to see if my nevus has grown.  The first year with my nevus/melanoma was difficult and scary. However, when I learned it was stable, for some reason I felt better prepared; stronger and braver for the day when I do have to fight it (if I do). I learned how to talk about Cancer. I think that was the hardest part, being able to talk to people and not have them react with dread, fear, pity, when all I wanted was to talk.

But why did this happen to me? I believe things happen for a reason, and when my mother-in-law was diagnosed with bowel cancer late last year, I was the “cold one” she could talk to. I was the one who could say Cancer, and let her say Cancer without everything crumbling around her. I love her dearly, and I know she is scared, but I hope I am helping with my “practical” ways.

Her doctor is very positive, the tumour was found and identified early, (no thanks to the first doctor she saw, who sent her home with a cream saying it was just an old person’s complaint, luckily she didn’t agree and went for a second opinion). She wanted to tell her family in her own time, and that is why I didn’t post earlier.

Two weeks ago she travelled to Valparaiso to start her radiation and chemotherapy. She will be there for about six weeks. My husband and oldest are going to visit her this weekend, with her daughters visiting the weekends after. My husband phones her every afternoon, and she says she is doing okay, and I know (like so many women I know here) she is strong. But even with her strength, and wanting to protect her children, I hope she will let them take care of her for a while.

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The sadness of staying in one place

When I first met my husband, and we went out together, I would get jealous of how he would always run into old friends. Friends from university, high school, or elementary school, from the old neighbourhood or from a football team.  He seemed to know everyone. Most of my life I have spent living in different places, and I rarely “run into” old friends.

I have been living in Chile for over 15 years, and 11 of those years my daughters have studied at the small rural school five minuets from our house.  I have become in some way a part of the community.  I have made friends, and run into them when I am out. It is nice, but it also comes with sadness.

There have been many deaths in this small village, from suicides, and car accidents to death during childbirth.  Most of these people I have only know to say hello, and so during the Masses at the school or the long train of cars to the cemetery I stay back and observe the villagers’ grief from a distance.

Yesterday one of the school’s Tías died of cancer.  She was also the mother of one of my oldest daughter´s class mates. In most Chilean schools the mothers spend a lot of time together.  We work together all year to raise money, we have end of year days out, and even camping trips together with our kids.  We spent nine years watching our children grow.

I have not seen her much since our kids “graduated” 8th grade, but I have many memories of her and how strong she was when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer. My  heart goes out to her family, especially her three boys.

Calas negras, from our garden, they only flower in October, and seem fitting.