Thursday, January 19, 2012

Life's a Happy Song

For those of you who have seen the new Muppet movie (The Muppets), you will understand that of which I speak when I refer to the glorious joy on the face of every character during the opening number, Life's a Happy Song.  As a lover of all things Muppet, of course I was thrilled to both see and share this movie (which Jason Segel, co-writer and star called, "a love letter to the Muppets") with my kid.

The past few weeks, since we took Judah to see it on Christmas day, we've been listening to the soundtrack on Spotify and Pandora.  Judah (now 4 and 1/2) can recognize Man or Muppet from the first few chords.  His passionate rendition brings me back to my childhood.  Memories of Sunday nights watching the Muppet Show (I think it was on at 7), seeing Kermit and feeling like a friend of mine was on TV.  Just pure love.

Listening to the happy song in the car this morning, it dawned on me why this catchy tune seems to weigh particularly heavy with me.  Obviously, the past few years have been rough up-and-downers, but I think the way I've responded to the everyday obstacles has been a direct reflection of my expectations.

Let me be clear, folks.  I have very high expectations for myself.  I like perfection.  I understand this isn't realistic, but "good enough" seems lame to apply to tasks that I am capable of perfecting.  This has included teaching, wedding planning, mothering, wife-ing, writing... yadda yadda.  I expect that I will do something, and do it well.  (Not that I'm competitive, but I prefer to do it best.)

And yet, the past few years have not been about reaching a state of perfection, but about just breathing through some really hard times.  Through most of my 6 chemo treatments, I remember looking forward to the last one, so we could throw this huge end of cancer party (anyone remember?).  Thing is, the end of chemo turned out not to be the end of cancer.

I'm not sure that there ever IS an end of cancer.  At least, not with our current knowledge (or lack thereof) of how cancer begins and lasts and destroys our cells.

There certainly is life after cancer.  And there are over 12 million people on the planet to prove it.

I want to be hopeful and happy and return to a state of blissful ignorance when my biggest concerns were if my hair was cooperating or if my lesson plans were ready to be collected.  Bulletin boards up to date?  Child bathed and asleep on time?  There have always been long To Do lists, as I'm sure many of you are familiar with.  And it feels so good (addictive?) to cross that s&*t off!  I love to feel productive, like I am actually a contributing member of society.

But my satisfaction now is so different from BC.  Life's not always a happy song, certainly not the happy song I thought I'd be singing at the end of treatment.  Since the worries and the physical wear and tear doesn't just disappear when the doctor tells you the results were good, cancer's always hanging about.

I don't want to paint too gloomy a picture.  Some days, thoughts about my child's life without me run rampant.  Other days, I worry that too much dairy creates a breeding ground for those nasty errant blood cells that fell asleep during lecture.  My biggest task at hand is to remember to breathe.  The money, the job, the personal fulfillment will all somehow work out for the best in the end, right?  As long as we remember to breathe.

"Life's a happy song, when there's someone by your side to sing along."



  1. Mia...very well inspire me. Thanks for sharing your life and feelings so openly I know you touch many people. Jane

  2. Mia, I have been so impressed by your honesty, courage and eloquence. having just completed (hopefully) treatment for thyroid cancer, your words resonate with me. God bless you.