You Can’t Stop Progress

October 13, 2009

Tanner and I dropped Jake off at school this morning and, after stopping at Sonic for our usual drink orders, headed to Sweet and Sassy for a haircut. She has been feeling really good the past two days and I wanted to do something special on our day together. Tanner has not had her hair cut since long before she was diagnosed, and it certainly didn’t seem prudent to cut it while it was falling out, but since she has held on to it so well, I thought it could benefit from a little trim to make it look prettier.

Amazingly, the hairdresser told me that Tanner is growing NEW hair. Sure enough, I look and little sprouts of hair are standing up all over her head. How can this be? With as much chemo as she is processing at the moment, how can something be thriving?

Then, I thought about how in some ways, I feel as if we have been standing still for the past 4 ½ months. Waiting… lots of waiting… for doctors, for medication, for the worst of this to be over so we can try to pick up our life and resume some normalcy. But, unbeknownst to me, Tanner has not been waiting… she has been growing. She is too little to understand what this process should be doing to her body, to her life even… so she does the only thing that kids know how to do… she grows.

Her homebound teacher, Mrs. O’Hara, told me yesterday how pleased she is with Tanner’s progress lately. The two of them have found a rhythm that, if anything, is allowing Tanner to progress in her schoolwork at a faster pace than traditional schooling would allow. Her reading is improving by leaps and bounds and she is a spelling demon. At a time when I worried that she would fall behind her classmates, she continues to shine and grow.

I have also noticed a new maturity in the past few weeks. She seems calmer, somehow. Some of the frantic energy that gets her into trouble seems more in check than normal. She seems to be thinking more before acting or speaking. I haven’t had to discipline her in quite some time and it is nice for it to be so peaceful.

So, while I’ve been busy trying to just hang on until Long Term Maintenance, Tanner has quietly moved on with things. I could take a lesson.

I went to a Board Meeting for Jake’s school tonight and it was so nice to talk about something other than cancer. I probably need to make a better effort to keep growing during this time, too.

Over the weekend, Tanner received cards from a 4th grade class at her school and from her own 1st grade class that meant the world to her. To see that she is missed and the kids want her to come back made her light up. She read the cards over and over again, smiling. It’s the first time, I think, that she has felt missed at school.

So, we’re putting last week behind us… it was rotten, but we made it and that’s what counts. I am a firm believer that it doesn’t matter how messy it looks while you’re making it through, it’s the fact that you came out the other side that matters.

Now, I am going to sleep in my daughter’s room… again… because she can’t sleep without the dog. Anybody have a sleepy dog for rent?


4 thoughts on “You Can’t Stop Progress

  1. I absolutely LOVE getting this information! I believe in growth. That’s the plan, and being in the plan is the right thing. Beth, you are the greatest!
    I can’t sleep without the dog, either! I go to sleep thinking of her and wake up missing her. (Puppy Dog is “here for me”. He sleeps “on” me
    and is being “nice”!) I noticed “growth” in Tanner. She seems to be
    accepting life as it is, and that’s such a gift! I LOVE YOU ALL!! E.

  2. What a gift and blessing you all are! Hearing about the cards received made me think of Elizabeth’s requests to pick out a card for Tanner anytime we’re somewhere they sell cards. We haven’t sent one in a long time and I need to indulge my child and hopefully brighten another. She’s also been a bit confused when we pray for Tanner because there is a little boy at her school named Tanner. I have to say “No, not the Tanner at your school … this is one of your cousins … a little girl who we don’t see very often.” She’s been talking about her cousin Tanner a lot lately. I was doing her child of the week poster and ran across the picture of all of them at mom’s when we got together two years ago. I was finally able to show her a picture of Tanner and I think that really helped 🙂

    I’m sorry y’all had such a hard week and very sorry to hear about Millie. Thinking about you all very much!

  3. Such a beautiful post. I love the ways that you are able to integrate this experience with the natural movement of life. Cancer sucks and it will change you forever…but you get to decide how. Thanks for sharing your wisdom – and Tanner’s – with us!

  4. Beth~
    We LOVED having you at the preschool meeting! You brightened the room and shared your sweet and brilliant self with us as we make plans for our upcoming events. Thank you for being there to share your knowledge and to let us learn from you in so many ways! I am thrilled to hear such good news about Tanner’s progress. This gorgeous child always amazed me and even more so now! Thanks again for being there and sharing your time with us! We are blessed to have you.

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