We built our dream home in 2006. When I say dream home though, please keep that in perspective. It is under 2000 square feet … it is no mansion. But it is very much “our” dream home … built in a beautiful, quiet, country setting in Nova Scotia with a stunning view out over the water.
We had waited so long to come home, had waited a long time to figure out the style of home that best suited who we were as a family, and we eagerly drew up the plans ourselves, ready to build a place we would call our forever home.
An absolute must was a large open concept kitchen. We are – by birth and by choice – Maritimers. And by that one small truth, you by default are required to have a large, warm and welcoming kitchen if it is within your possibility to do so. And we consciously planned for that.
We built a big island and tonnes of cupboard space, stained in a cinnamon colour I had them custom make for me. It is after all where Maritmers congregate. It is where we share drinks and food and laughter. It is where friends and family come and cook together and gather together. It is where secrets are told and burdens are shared and laughter rings out.
I knew all of this when I was designing it. I am proud of my strong roots and I knew … I hoped … that our kitchen would prove to be a place of countless parties, potlucks and dinners … with shared laughter and great memories. Eight years later all of this has come to pass. Every single moment. And there is nothing I don’t love about my kitchen. It is my favourite room in the house. Bar none.
What I didn’t know however, all those years ago, is that there would be a certain cupboard in my kitchen.
Now I’m blessed to have many beautiful doors in my kitchen, but this one is to the left of the fridge. I don’t remember if I chose it because it’s proximity to the fridge but I probably did.
This cupboard isn’t filled with spices or wine glasses or pottery. It’s not one of my corner cupboards that hold my entertaining dishes. It’s actually quite unassuming, but would come to be the most important and sometimes most often used space in my kitchen.
It’s my sons chemotherapy cupboard.
And I tell you … when I was planning our kitchen I never thought we’d have one of those!
But so it was.
As we moved into our new home and I unpacked boxes, I sat aside this cupboard for the three and a half years of medications and chemotherapy and paraphernalia we would gather over the years. As I unpacked China and silverware I also unpacked syringes and steroids and supplementary therapies. Side by side these things got put away.
So began our chemo cupboard for our son. There was Septra and ranitidine and methotrexate and 6MP. There were binders full of information and contact numbers galore. There were barf basins and Emla and piles of blood work. Thermometers and vitamins sat along with medication schedules and chemotherapy so poisonous I wasn’t allowed to touch it or even inhale it (meanwhile my son was expected to ingest it on a daily basis). Post it notes were stuck on the inside door and antibacterial wipes and purell abounded.
I would come to access this cupboard as much or more than any other one in my home.
And the thing is, is that I’m writing this in the past tense … which of course that part of our journey is over. But truth be told that cupboard … the one by the fridge … still hasn’t been emptied. It still stands there, waiting for me to take that step. I don’t know when that will be, but I know its time will come, like so many other things did from that time in our Iives. One can analyze that all one wants. But I have learned that things come at their own time and pace for everyone.
So yes. There is a cupboard in my house. One that most families have never had. One that we never thought we would need. But one that served us well, and that sits unassumingly in my favourite room of our home, with cinnamon colour doors and hematite colour knobs. A cupboard that will someday be emptied … when the time is right for me … and one that will hopefully never be used again.