I haven’t hit this blog in a while, even though I have lots to say. Sure, I’ve been busy—aren’t we all? But mostly, like Tim Robbins in the great escape scene from The Shawshank Redemption, one of my favorite movies, I’ve been knee-deep in shit, hoping that there will be peace on the other side. And venting for venting’s sake makes me worry about the contagion of moods. I started this blog to write about our story, and to be real about it. But not to paint too dark a canvas. Mostly, I think, it’s a story about hope.
So here’s a bright spot in what’s been a difficult but necessary transition for us. Today E is running in her school’s “Mile Run” race, an event the kids look forward to every spring. This afternoon, shortly before regular dismissal, all of the fourth and fifth graders who timed 10 minutes or less in PE class will be bused to the high school today, in their most comfy running attire, to compete against one another on the big kids’ track.
For E and me, it’s not about winning the race. It’s the thrill of being in it in the first place. Last year at this time, a month shy of the colonoscopy that would confirm her Crohn’s diagnosis, most of the running E was doing was to the bathroom, or to the nurse’s office, where she went when the pain overwhelmed her. We didn’t know it yet, but she was in the middle of her first big flare, one that would consume the rest of her spring and summer until it finally resolved in late August.
Last year, she was more than a minute slower. I was amazed that she was able to complete it in PE class. But she did, because that’s how she is.
I don’t much like discussing the details of my divorce, because it’s yucky and why go there? But in one recent argument, my ex lamented that she was “using her disease as an excuse” and I was enabling that behavior. This upset me because: a) it couldn’t be further from the truth; and b) his inability to see her how the world sees her, for the fighter she is and always has been, saddened me.
This kid—the one with the two chronic autoimmune diseases—she’s the toughest person I know. Every day, she is determined to live a full life and just be as normal a kid as she can possibly be. And she’s doing it. In her 504 meeting, surrounded by administrators, her teacher, and the school nurse, the word they all used, the one I’ve heard heard so many times from adults who’ve gotten to know her–is “admire.” People admire her bravery and her strength, her heart. I wish that her dad could see that, too.
But today, it’s all about the joy of her feeling well enough to participate. Today, my plucky little fighter, bedecked in her favorite yellow owl t-shirt, was beaming as she waved goodbye to me on the bus. And I can’t wait to see her on the track at 3:30. You go, girl.