March 8, 2010
Tanner got to go to a birthday party on Saturday for the first time since she was diagnosed with leukemia. Nine months with no birthday parties. We didn’t tell her until the last minute and she was so excited. It was a Young Chef’s Academy party so they made pasta and garlic bread and had a ball.
Tanner dressed herself for the party and came down in jeans and a jump rope-a-thon t-shirt with black high top converse. She has the girliest little face, but still… she gets her feelings hurt when someone calls her a boy, and this outfit would not help. I tried to convince her to wear a barrette in her hair, but she wouldn’t do it.
Turned out she knew all the little girls from school. But, it made me tear up a little to see how confidently she bounced into the room to great her friends. This ordeal could rob her of her self-esteem. I can easily see where I would feel a little like a freak when your parents keep following you around with hand sanitizer and telling you not to touch stuff everyone else is touching. But, Tanner’s confidence is definitely intact and I’m glad cancer hasn’t taken that away from her too. She’s still a happy, bouncy little girl that loves to play with other kids.
Saturday night we had friends over the new house for pizza in the basement. Great fun! Sunday was a gorgeous day and while John carted several loads of our belongings into the house, the kids and I had a picnic on the front lawn and rode bikes with our neighbors-to-be. We already love our cul-de-sac. There are so many kids and it feels like such a safe place for them to play.
School was out in Williamson County today and we went to a friends’ house to play outside on a beautiful 70 degree day. They had a new “zip line” and while the Moms watched from lawn chairs, 7 kids had a great time playing on the playground and just being outside. It was a welcome break from the drudgery of packing.
Tomorrow, Tanner and I will spend the day packing and taking stuff to the new house while Jake is at school. We’re in the final stretch here and I’m starting to feel a little strain. So far, though, it’s been a relatively easy move and we have no real deadline for getting our stuff out, so I’m just not going to sweat it if it all doesn’t get done before the movers arrive. Don’t get me wrong… I would rather not come back on Sunday after moving the day before to pick up the stuff we didn’t get, but we will if we have to. We have enough stress in our lives without creating imaginary deadlines.
One of my friends asked me why we would choose now, with all that has gone on with our family this year, to take on something stressful like renovating a house and moving. She said she thought it would put her over the edge. The funny thing is, it has been exactly the opposite. It has been a blessing. It has given us something else to focus on, something to look forward to and offered us a safe place to go when we couldn’t get out because of low counts. It’s a little like an adventure to go “camp” at the new house for a meal… pure gold when you haven’t been to a restaurant in a while.
But, mostly, we haven’t found it to be very stressful at all. Our experience with cancer has changed our idea of what stressful is. Stress is thinking your child might die, watching them in pain, feeling like they are a sick all the time, disappointing them over and over again, even if it is for their own good, feeling like your child is being robbed of her childhood. These things are stressful. A messed up hardwood floor can be fixed, a wrong tile choice in the bathroom can be covered with a throw rug, a missed deadline can be rescheduled.
Four more days until we move. It’ll all get done somehow. Meanwhile, we’ll enjoy whatever freedom we can get.