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?