Tomorrow, Little Warrior starts kindergarten.
I am indulging in some weeping, and watching old videos, in the perhaps vain hope that I will not be a weepy pile of goo tomorrow. Or at least, not at the school.
When she had Cancer The First Chapter, diagnosed at 7 months old, the vision I held on to was very simple. There is a hall with a railing upstairs that overlooks our living room. In my imagination, I could see her, perhaps 2 years old, a barbie in each hand, trotting down that hall, following her older sisters. In real life, she was just a baby. Couldn't walk yet, and because of the expanding tumors, could no longer crawl. I held to that vision. Hoping for that.
I got that. I have looked up from my living room chair to see her, grin on face, skipping across. Some visions come true.
And now, 4 and a half years, and one more bout of cancer later, she is about to start kindergarten. Until July, when her scans came back NED, I could never just say, "She'll be starting kindergarten in the fall." It was always, "She'll be starting kindergarten in the fall ... we hope." Or "knock wood." Or "PLEASE."
My kid is a two-time cancer survivor. As many times as I've said that, you'd think that I'd be able to wrap my head around it. But I still can't.
The Husband has the same inability. We look at pictures of LW during treatment -- that bald, eyelash/eyebrow-less little girl -- and can't completely integrate her with the bouncy, occasionally bratty, 5 year old in front of us. "Whatever happened to that little bald child who used to live here?"
Conflicted is a good word, isn't it? Because events and people are so rarely all one thing or another. It makes sense that our feelings would follow suit.
Make no mistake, I am not at all conflicted about LW starting kindergarten. Hey, she's also my 4th of 4. This day has been a long one in coming. Nothing but good on that.
But looking back at the hard times, it's not all bad. Though the good about cancer doesn't even remotely outweigh the bad. And as much as many people would like for there to be a "greater good" reason for it, I don't believe that.
But the truth is, because we were in the hospital, just us, Little Warrior and I spent a lot of "quality time" together. One on one time, talking, reading books, playing, having tea. We would make a tent in her hospital room, where no one else was allowed. Just Mama and LW.
Tomorrow, she'll start kindergarten. That was, at one time, a dream too far-off, too wonderful, too scary to hope for. I did not envision it, because some part of me didn't believe it would happen. Even in June, I wouldn't fully let my heart embrace it.
Tomorrow, it happens. New shoes have been bought, pencils sharpened, clothes laid out.
Tomorrow, she starts kindergarten.
Monday Morning Update: Yup. I cried. Luckily, she is used to Mom crying. Didn't phase her. "Bye!"
I SO am not doing officiating at any of my kids' weddings. In fact, I even think I'll hire a stand-in for mother-of-the-bride/groom.
Did I mention that my oldest baby started high school today? And The Princess started middle school? The BFF-DRE is taking me out for coffee this morning. Or a margarita, she said. Whichever I need.