Friday, October 10, 2014

She is Three

I quit updating this blog for many reasons.

1. I got a counselor and that seems to have worked for the past two years to help heal some open wounds. The internet doesn't do much counseling.

2. I needed to escape my problems of concerns for the future. There is nothing more distracting than a toddler and the demands of the everyday.

3. Posting to the internet is like yelling in a cave only to hear your voice echo. After a while, the loneliness is overwhelming and one has to examine WHY they are so lonely.

4. Life shouldn't be a story. I think we are all so wrapped up in stories. Hearing a story means you connect but I question "does it really?" What if I met a person in a park with my open heart on my sleeve and gave a hug or a smile without a smile? What if I helped a person truly in need? Well, I was that person in need when my Grace was just a babe. People reached out to me and touched me. They didn't tell me their stories. They didn't say they even wanted to hear mine, even though I was so eager to share. Yet they saw me through and through. If you are open in heart and mind, this doesn't scare you off but instead fills you up. Scared is what I often was. I was like a brick and mortar walled citadel. Remove the story and remove the people. Remove the identity and that removes the fear. Then a story can't hurt you.

5. Cancer is always going to be there. There are lulls in between the highs and lows where it is just... good. No need to dwell in tomorrow or dwell upon yesterday. I have learned to be very present.

So why am I writing today? I've found thoughts bubbling to the surface. I put emotions too big to battle into little shoe boxes that I carefully shelved away. Some people think suppressing feelings is wrong or bad. That's not true and not necessary. We put things away so that their power over us is diminished. Maybe the dragon awaiting me in that shoe box will have transformed into a less dangerous snake or even a bunny. My new perspectives have enlightened me.

Cancer. Like all the terrible crap in the world, fuck cancer. I don't feel guilt today for the gift we were blessed with our miracle pain-free survival of our baby girl. But that's just today. It's always there. Never leaves. Sometimes I feel ok, sometimes I feel happy, sometimes resentful. More often than not I feel blessed and grateful for her Cancer.

How can I hate something that shaped me so much? Do I even really hate it?

Look at that face. When I see it, my heart aches and feels so full and empty at the same time. Would I take a kid with cancer versus no kid/healthy kid? Yes, actually. Because God gave me just as much as I can handle. I can almost just barely handle this. My heart, it is ten times bigger both from loving and from the terrible aching.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

How Did She Grow Up So Fast!

My child is almost 7 months old!! She has two teeth. She eats solids. She can sit. AND she can army crawl and get up on her knees. She's quick! She's also a goof. :D Update: of the five masses on her liver, three are missing! Disappearing cancer. The other two lesions are smaller and the adrenal mass is a titch smaller. She's gainging weight and she's extremely tall!

I have been meaning to write. Though, when I sit down I find I'd just be talking about some of the most mundane daily tasks. How do I reconcile these "boring" tasks with how I really feel? I feel enlightened. I feel uplifted. I feel giggly and giddy. Special. Loved. Important. I feel organized and intelligent. I feel funny and witty.

I don't use words as much as I once did. At one point, I was reading books upon books each term and writing page after page for term papers to get my history degree. And you can all be sure that this girl overachieved and likely read much more than necessary just because... well because I could. I loved it. It didn't feel like work most of the time. The elevated level of thought and argument. The discourse and scholarship. These things defined 5 years of my life. Showing how intelligent I could be to seek validation. I felt vindicated after graduation. I proved myself.  Oh how different the times are.

I am not seeking validation now. My validation comes in the form of a small human who thrives if i treat her well and take care of her. I'm not looking outward. I look inward. I trust my gut. I feel my feelings. I appreciate my motherhood intuition. I don't have deadlines. I have milestones. I don't work for projects. I scramble and obey and tend to others and their needs. I am a servant.

Too often ego gets in the way. I felt conditioned for a long time to dislike the act of serving someone. You are independent, free thinking. You can take care of yourself. I believed servitude implied weakness, lack of constitution. Boy I was wrong.

It's not just being a wife that has conditioned me to lose my ego.  Motherhood. Daughterhood. Sisterhood. To give. To give without expectation of receiving.   It is a gift in itself. To love providing. To love my life.

Now... it isn't all lovely martyrdom of motherhood, the love to love bs.  It is grueling work. It stinks literally. It is messy. It is unpredictable. It is annoying. It is agitating. It is mind-numbing. It is grating. It is loud. Painful. Sleepless. Lonely. Stressful. Worrisome. It is hard. Tough stuff.

For instance, Grace is constipated from her new adventures with sweet potatoes, rice cereal, avocado, banana, and apple sauce. Who in the world wants to hear about that?! Well, that's what's on my mind and in the forefront of this week for me as Momma Bear. Calling the pediatrician. Talking to the other mommies in my life about it. Getting her solids that get stuff moving better. Juice diluted with water. Oatmeal cereal instead of rice cereal. Her poor little cries when she pooped this morning broke my heart. But I know how traumatic it is for her.  Hello?! I had a baby naturally so I have an idea of the butt pain my baby is feeling. My problems used to consist of family or friend drama. Deadlines on papers or irritating co-workers. Now, I let my baby poop into my hand while I hold her so she is in a more comfortable position all while I'm nearly in tears over worry for her. Give her healthy foods and keep her plenty hydrated. I keep her active and happy when I can. I worry that I screwed up and caused all her pain.  I fuss over her.

And I'm happy to do so. My mundane boring life of the same tasks, nap schedules, making baby food is filled with new beautiful moments of Grace crawling, her talking loudly, and her two new teeth! Like the movie Groundhog's Day, every day is the same and yet everyday is new and different.

Huh. Not only does a baby mean that "everything changes." Bedtime, going out, what you eat, yes those things change. But what you care about, how you think, why you do things, how you treat people or situations. What you worry over. I am aching to go check on her right now to make sure she's still breathing.

It feels right in the moment.  It feels natural to kiss Grace's cheeks a million times.  I am deeply satisfied. I breastfeed her and she snuggles in with that warm body, she pets my skin with her gentle hands, and she looks up into my eyes. I exude love as she exudes tenderness, and in moments like this I do have a glimpse of a life without her. I am momentarily filled with dread and sorrow and emptiness at the thought of losing her to an infinite list of irrational fears and some rational ones.  I see her future in her eyes and wish that she too someday looks into the eyes of her child this way.

I don't want her to grow up. I want her to grow up. My life is full of boring tasks. My life is full of amazing moments I hope to immortalize and remember for forever. I am exhausted and I am elated. So odd. So wonderful.

How did she grow up so fast?! I know I haven't written lately because I've been enjoying watching my little one grow and hoping to not miss out on a single moment.

Friday, January 20, 2012


At 11:11pm every night I seem to see the clock. I wish during this bewitching hour that same wish. That Grace will grow to be a healthy, happy old lady. Occasionally being militantly optimistic is exhausting. It works though. It keeps me healthier. A healthier parent for Grace.

I have worked out and eaten better this week. I've socialized more, balanced my time, and done crafty projects. These all help with the "healthy parent" attitude I need. Kris makes it all possible. Don't know what I'd do without him. I take care of her and he takes care of both of us. A real man, the man I knew he'd be and he does it with pleasure.

I have a cancer of my own: worry. It can really rot away and dig down deep and it is hard to erradicate. However, in cases like Grace's, one can defeat their own illness. I have been doing well with that. With stuffing demons away, shutting them up, extinguishing them for good.

I realize I will never be a "normal parent" now.  While my mind is in a different place than other parents, I am learning that other parents are likely worrying their child won't make it to that glorious front porch as an old person drinking tea, rocking in a chair as the sun sets on a yard full of children and grandchildern. They too want their child to have a life, a long healthy life void of heart ache and hardship. They too want their babies to carry on a legacy and have babies themselves.

Today I made a decision to unfollow a blog I've followed and spoken about. It is of two parents and their recently passed 18 month old girl, who died from recurring stage 4 neuroblastoma complications. I told myself, "If you read this you will sympathize and realize THIS IS NOT YOUR FAMILY OR SITUATION." I kept telling myself this. We didn't have the hardship they had and we count our blessings. Then their daughter passed. Then the sadness. The despair. The husband wrote about it. I read it. It helped me. I feel I grieve still for Grace's cancer.

However, now he is angry. He's channelling that anger. I feel it. It makes me itch to change the web page away. I know now that it is no longer positive for me to read or know about. I need to not be angry. Not now. Now for Grace, positive is essential. I have to put up my guard. Martyrdom and bleeding hearts hurt me more than help me.

GRACE UPDATE!! She is doing well. Better than well. Our county nurse gave us a visit and a developmental screening and Grace continued to surprise and delight her with her strength. She said we should have expected delay with such an invasive abdominal surgery recovery but she saw absolutely none.  Grace has great motor skills and social skills. Is it too early to take a little credit??  LOL I have limited my emotionality, my historionics, my hysteria and guarded her from it completely. I have lived as though I had no future, just today with Grace. Grace sure makes it easy. The smiles, the laughing, the new talents every day. Today she successfully moved her little body around 6 feet from it's original location! So active.

Her growth is on track. 40th percentile in weight and around 80th percentile in height. She has gained some chub on her thigh meaning she will sprout another few inches soon and mom will have to go through all her clothes AGAIN. I just did it! Though I do love doing it.

Kris was kept home today by the flooding. First snow and now flooding. Well, I saw it as a sign. God opened a door of opportunity for me to take care of myself and to get a solid night's sleep. Kris got up when Grace woke and I slept in our glorious bed in the other room My first night away from her. First of many in her life, but it is an ache I have to be away from her. 

Like right now... I am going to check on her... see if she's still breathing. I wonder if that ever goes away. All I know is at 11:11 tonight I will again wish that she grow up to be a wonderfully satisfied old bittie. If you see that time too, mind sending out my wish too?

 She was facing the other way on her pink playmat. Kris said it took her a while but she happily plugged along and talked and played her way across the floor towards him while he worked.

We are in trouble.

 Good morning she says!

 I look a lot like my mother here. And She looks a lot like her mother too.

We love taking her for walks. Of course the week we get back into walking we have snow, freezing rain, heavy rains, flooding, and high winds.  We live on the wild side.