Tuesday, June 16, 2009

About Her

There's a sidebar that says About Me. But what I like to talk about a lot is her. I mean, I love to talk about all my kids (what mom that doesn't), but with Jess facing what she is, well, she deserves a little extra attention. First of all, she is truly beautiful. She's always has been my dark-eyed, dark-haired beauty. I know she has insecurities about this or that, but what comes through when you spend any time with her, is her sweet and gentle beauty. Jess truly cares about people. She will actually listen when you talk and be thinking all along if there's anything she can do for you. I don't think a day goes by when she doesn't ask ME if I need anything. Pain, nausea, exhaustion, etc., and she'll STILL ask me! Like I'm going to say, sure, honey, could you cook me up a steak?! But that's just her way and I love it. She's also generous in a way that says, I was thinking of you and remembered you love this or were craving that, or whatever. Without ever expecting anything in return. People might say she's a people pleaser and maybe there's some of that in her, but you can't force someone's heart to be that tender, no matter the motive.
Jess is also very witty. It's a natural kind of humor that is hard to explain. She can impersonate any of us in the family to a tee and yet also see some crazy point of view in a situation that no one else can and make a joke of it. I know that laughter has helped us all go from one medical situation to the next. Even during chemo, she'd find something for us to laugh about.
I know I could write pages about her. About her love for the Lord, how her personal relationship with Him that has grown in leaps and bounds since this first began Or her creative side. She can draw or decorate or design things in minutes. She has a fashion style that is uncanningly ahead of it's time. I will see her wear something and the next month it's in every store! Or her strength and courage. Losing your hair and eyelashes, surgeries, bad reports, chemo, sickness upon sickness? Maybe some sadness, but she never complains, never.
Ultimately, my Jess is in so many ways still just a girl who's facing a very big giant and wants to be rescued, delivered and given her life back. But the fact that she can remain her strong, beautiful, funny, caring self in the face of that? Well, she's just being the amazing girl I've always known her to be and who she will continue to be long after she is healed from cancer.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

So, this is my first "official" blog. For the past year I've been writing on my daughter's Caringbridge website, which is a great place for people facing critical illnesses to update friends and family. But so much of what my heart wanted to share just didn't seem appropriate for that, or for my daughter to read. I mean, how can a mom write about the way her heart aches every time she sees her 23 year old baby poked in the chest to get her port accessed for the hundredth time knowing that she will read that? Or the first time I saw her without hair. Her long beautiful black hair, gone, because of deadly chemicals that are supposed to save her life? How I cry for the life she should be having, the vacations, the job, the babies, the songs she wants to write, the mountains she wants to climb, the dreams that every 23 year old has... No, those are not things moms share with their kids. It's the on the job training we get that starts the the first time our child steps on glass and blood is everywhere, and we really want to freak out and throw up, but we stay cool and calm. At least until we call for dad, then we freak out and throw up.
So, after 5 kids I am fully trained on being cool and collected in the face of any calamity. Which is a good thing with cancer. Whether it was the 60 staples across her abdomen after an unsuccessful tumor removal surgery (yes, I looked) or the endless vomiting of every substance and color during chemo or the painful heart to heart talks we still have about life and death and babies and such. Yes, this mom is cool and calm enough to speak words of life and strength to her without too many tears....but here I will not be so strong or even pretend. Because you are not really strong when your baby is facing death, not ever. Only God will get us through this.