The week following Elena’s diagnosis, I barely was able to shower on a daily basis, let alone put myself together in any way. The first trip we took out to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was an early appointment and I refused to put make up on for that. “Who could possibly be put together in the oncology clinic?” I thought to myself. I just didn’t care- which is not the usual way I operate. I wouldn’t say I’m high maintenance, but I enjoy wearing makeup, getting fashionably dressed and having my hair in something other than an unkempt up-do of sorts. I mean, really…my whole life just fell apart, I’m NOT fixing myself up to go through this hell. Little did I know back then that staying true to myself, and putting the energy into maintaining my appearance would be the best possible way to stay grounded and connected to myself. It’s definitely not prevented me from being drastically changed, but it has helped me get through the day, each and every day.
I’m not the only mother who thinks this way, as I sit in clinic and notice others who are neatly put together, lipstick staining their lips and skinny jeans tucked into their cute booties. I think initially it surprised me and I felt as if suddenly everyone would just expect me to not look my best anymore. I don’t know, maybe that’s true, but it actually feels good to stick with my daily routines as much as I can. Drying my hair, applying eyeliner and mascara, putting an outfit together as opposed to settling for yoga pants and a sweatshirt….don’t get me wrong, when I’m home, I adore my comfort clothes, can’t be bothered with a bra and refuse to suffocate my skin with make up.
I’m sitting in the lobby of Annalise’s dance class, typing away on my phone App, very thankful we have two full weeks off from chemo for Elena. Thankful, but ready and just as appreciative that I can throw on my skinny jeans and mascara before heading out again in March. Not to be self centered or high maintenance, but to be ME. In any and every way possible through this experience.