A dimpled smile
Yesterday was treatment day, so most of my day was spent in the recliner in the chemo room and driving to and from chemo.
Treatment day always leaves me with a weird feeling: I get infused with several drugs, one — Benadryl — which makes me sleepy, and one — steroids — that make me jittery and unable to sleep. Needless to say, I come out of my treatment day every three weeks feeling strange. Sleep is unpredictable, and I am planning on at least one more trip back to the chemo room to get some fluids in the next 48 hours. When I “get some fluids”, that means that the nurses access my port (i.e., stick a needle in it) and run it to an IV bag of saline. It’s a one-liter bag, and it takes an hour to run it in. A well-hydrated body functions best, so I’m essentially giving my body every advantage I can. And, as my mom says, since I’m infusing salt water into me, I’m essentially infusing the ocean into me. I like that idea. I’m in listen-to-my-body mode for the next several days; I’ll try not to overdo it!
We had the blessing of being invited to the lake this past weekend, one of my most favorite happy places. We had five children ranging from age 2 to 8, and all of them behaved — I’m pleased to say — as excellent boat kids. I grew up on my dad’s boat, and some of my favorite memories lake days. We taught Maren and her friend to water ski, a parenting dream I have tucked close to my heart as my kids are approaching ski-able ages. After a lot of failed attempts, Maren got a legitimate 100 meter run in, and her friend went a solid 1000 meters, so we were super proud of both of them. Learning to ski is tricky and humbling. I was the coach in the water with the girls, so I used a lot of my communication skills on try numbers six, seven, eight, etc. to both encourage perseverance and correct technique. Seeing those little legs skimming away from me in the water for those longer skis was a bucket list moment for me, and I’m crossing my fingers that we get to ski next summer too and really solidify it for her. Greta and all her gumption decided she wanted to try, so we let her have a go. She actually hung on for 20 meters, but never stood all the way up. Not too bad for a four-year-old, especially since she was wailing when I got to her (I think the noise of the boat revving up to pull her scared her.) Doing new things requires all kinds of courage, and I got to see a lot of bravery this weekend: such a treasure! I love that our brand-new skiers can experience the joy that they earned for all their hard work and perseverance; it is such a great life skill. Thank you to our hosts and friends: we are so, so grateful! (Video below is one of Maren’s ski runs.)
I was the coach in the water with my girl this weekend, and she had a hard time getting the hang of skiing. This meant that we had at least a dozen tries. Each time she would yell “hit it!” and our faithful driver would gun the throttle to give her the required lift out of the water. Sometimes she fell forward, other times backwards, and even sideways. She made it one meter, she made it five meters. It was slow, frustrating progress. She would correct one technique problem only to discover another. I heard her cry out in frustration, “Mom! I am a loser! I cannot do this!”
“Maren. Look at me. You are not a loser. Doing hard things and failing and feeling frustrated, sad, crappy and tired… that happens.” I looked at my girl, tears on her cheeks, and felt such ache: the ache of wanting to take the hardness away, but more so the ache of a parent who wants her to get this. I know –without a doubt– that she has what it takes to do this, but it only matters if she knows she can do it. “Reward, strength, perseverance, courage, power comes from facing the hard stuff and triumphing over it. You’ve got this. You have what it takes.”
The last run of the night was my favorite. I had to swim to her — that’s how far she made it — I had to swim a distance to get to her. As I approached her I was too far to see her eyes, but I could see her dimple flash as she bobbed in the water. That dimple smile tells me everything: I’ve got this, Mom. I did it.
Oh, baby girl. I’m so proud of you. This was a bucket list mama moment for me, for sure. Thank you.