What a roller coaster ride we have all been on these last several months. Oh right- it’s been longer than that, obviduh- but in terms of when I last blogged…yeah, an intense ride of ups and downs, twists and turns, leaving me damn near mentally and emotionally exhausted.
Elena is…holy shit, that girl is absolutely amazing. She is energy personified and has such a zest for life, fun and trouble! She is the most formidable toddler I have ever encountered and her tempter tantrums could decimate small countries. I have watched her glare at me while I reprimand her for something she shouldn’t be doing and, I kid you not, the look on her face is saying, “Psh- seriously, Ma?? If I can kick cancer’s ass, that ridiculous rule you are trying to impose on me doesn’t stand a CHANCE.” Though, for the most part she is just abundantly happy and excited about every small, wonderful, seemingly menial aspect of life that we all typically take for granted. Her laughter is contagious and could make even the Grinch’s heart melt.
I’m also incredibly proud of Annalise. She struggled through much of last year, feeling as if her sister was taking the spotlight and getting all of everyone’s attention. I can’t say she wasn’t partially right and that breaks my heart in ways I cannot mend. I was most concerned for her as Mario and I ended our marriage. Knowing that she is my sensitive soul, I feared she would continue to have a hard time adjusting to another crisis in our lives. And while she’s had her share of tears and concerns, she’s thriving so much better than I ever hoped for. She is doing well in school and has been involved with cheer since July, keeping her busy and focused. I have to move out of my house soon. My landlord wants to sell it and there is no way I’m able to buy it, as I’m already facing bankruptcy. Wanting her to be prepared for yet another set of changes (Mario just moved out 6 weeks ago), I have slowly started mentioning the idea of not staying in our house for much longer, and more than likely moving in with Grandma and Pop-Pop for some time. Last night driving home from her final cheer practice of the season, she asked why we couldn’t buy our house. I told her that it costs a lot of money that Mommy doesn’t have. She wanted to know how much it costs. When I told her almost $300,000 her response was (get the tissues out now) “Would you have enough if I gave you my Paris money?” Annalise has been saving every dollar she has ever earned or been gifted, and just this summer decided she will use it one day to travel to Paris, like her American Girl Doll, Grace. I couldn’t respond to her as my eyes quickly welled up with tears and begun to stream freely down my cheeks. My beautiful Annalise…what a gorgeous soul you have.
So- cancer, divorce, losing the home my girls and I love and facing bankruptcy. It’s been a pretty shitty year when I look at it like that. And yet, I’m happy. Happier than I have ever been before. I am confident and ready for whatever the future may bring. It’s probably going to be difficult at best, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be good. I find it kind of funny that for the duration of Elena’s treatment, while people would tell me how strong I am, I scoffed at them. I didn’t feel strong. I felt weak and helpless. It is only now, after getting through it all, and slowly picking up the pieces of my life and finding myself all over again, that I actually feel strong.
I was folding the girl’s laundry a few weeks back, sorting through the clothes that are getting too small on Elena, just by sight and remembering how they fit her. Checking the size on them I was astounded to see that they are her 2Ts that are snug. Seeing as she will be 3 in December, it doesn’t sound like something out of the ordinary. A year ago, 18 month sizes were swimming on her. She didn’t start wearing a 2T until June, barely growing at all in the 10 months she was on chemo. The joy that overcame me as I pulled aside those outfits to put in the give-a-way bin is indescribable. It was in that tiny moment I knew that no matter what life has or is going to throw my way, not only will I be ready for it and face it head on, but I will do so happily. I will do so with a smile on my face and beauty in my heart knowing that Elena is healthy, and happy, and growing and thriving. I will do so knowing that Annalise, while sensitive, is also mature and strong, adjusting to the changes in her life and rising to the occasion time and time again. And I will do so for myself, because I deserve it. We all do.