Today, I will. Today is her birthday.
It was not so long ago that this seemed an impossible dream. The night before her first surgery, we didn’t know if she would celebrate her first birthday. When the cancer came back, right before her 3rd birthday, we were so devastated, and no one knew if she would make it to her 4th birthday.
Today, she is developmentally appropriate, if a little on the small side. Her spirit more than makes up for that. She’s plucky, she’s tough, she’s smart. She knows she is a survivor, though we try to make it not central to her identity.
Though cancer is not ever-present in our lives or conversations doesn’t mean it’s not there, coloring events. I took a picture of her today and silently thought, “…and that’s what a two-time survivor looks like.” The normal milestones have extra poignancy.
But not just for her. Her entire family survived her cancer. Her siblings sacrificed, it affected who they are. When I watch her older sister, The Princess, up on stage singing her first public solo, I am perhaps slightly more emotional.
Or not. Maybe this is just normal emotional. This is, after all, our normal. A few days ago, LW got in a fight with the boy next door. His mama took care of it appropriately, fussing at her son and sending him over to apologize. All normal stuff, except where he hit her was her abdomen. “Anywhere but there!” her father and I groaned.
So, yes, it is ever-present in The Husband’s and my heads. But it is just one detail among many, along with The Boy being obsessive about not drinking after anyone else, and The Princess needing to be reminded about her homework, and Bo Peep having soft dental enamel, so please don’t let her eat lemons.
Life is good for all of us. I am about to have two teens in the house, a terrifying thought. I have two ministerial internships which I love. Husband’s good, kids are good, Mama’s good.
I don’t like the phrase “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” – I don’t feel it to be necessarily true.
But I do think that what doesn’t kill you often makes you different. And if you look hard enough, some of that different might be good.