My friend Samantha, whose 16-month old daughter Eliana has been fighting a brain-stem tumor for the past year, said it best when she said this journey isn't a roller-coaster, it's more like the insane, rapid-fire peeks and valleys of a seismograph. Yesterday was good, today was tough. We started fading Nina's steroids on Thursday. She did well the first couple of days but today she had a terrible time sleeping. She was up all night practically hallucinating. She was extremely emotional. She was recalling things that had happened 6 even 9 months earlier and reliving them as if they were happening right in front of her.
I felt so bad for. She was like a junkie going through withdrawals. I tried to convince her everything was going to be okay, that she was in bed and that her dreams were over with but it didn't work. Several times she looked right through me, as if I weren't even in her presence. It scared me! Normally I wouldn't have cared if I were up all night with her but I was bummed because today was the day our friends the Becchios were having their son Braden baptized. Todd and I were suppose to be the Godparents but now with Nina doing so poorly Todd and Teddy would have to go on their own. Things always seem to work this way...you have something you'd love to do and then....squash...there go your plans!
|Nina and Max resting|
While Todd and Teddy went off to mass, Nina and I cuddled on the living room mattress. She was extremely tired and it was very hard to motivate her to interact. I desperately tried everything but nothing seemed to work. Then I asked her if she'd be interested in going on-line and looking up Halloween costumes. She perked up right away!
Nina loves Halloween and she loves dressing up! About two weeks ago she had decided she wanted to have a fairy-themed Halloween, partially because she had spent the last month watching all the Tinkerbell movies over and over again at radiation and partially because you can't get more girlie and sparkly then with a fairy costume! Aside from picking out her own Tinkerbell costume, Nina had decided that I would be Queen Clarion and that daddy would be the Fairy King! Normally Todd would have said no-way/no-how, but now...he was mush in his daughter's hands and agreed :) During radiation treatments, Nina and I had spent hours laughing at the prospect of Todd in tights! For years I had tried to get Todd to take me to a Jane Austen Regency Ball but he refused...he pretty much disliked the entire idea....but especially the thought of having to wear very snug britches. Now...he was going to wear tights for his daughter :) Who says revenge isn't sweet?
So...Nina and I got the computer and proceeded to go on-line and look at costumes. Within a few minutes Nina had decided which Tinkerbell costume she wanted. Then she asked to look for dada's costume. Nothing could have made me happier :) Then...we found it!!!
There we were, the two girls, sitting on the mattress scrolling down the pages of costumes when we stumbled on the most hilarious image our two sets of eyes had ever seen:
What happened next will always be one of my most favorite Nina memories! She started laughing the most intense and deep laugh I have ever heard anyone laugh. She laughed and laughed and laughed. She laughed so hard, her left eye squinted shut and she shook violently, producing no sounds for about 10 seconds. She laughed so hard that eventually she toppled over!!! I laughed right along with her, both in response to this ridiculous imagine as well as to the pure hilarity coming out of my precious daughter.
She took a deep breath and tried to sit up. She looked at me, face flushed from laughing so hard, and said, "Dada is going to die!!! He is going to freak out!!" She was right!! We started to laugh some more and then ordered the tights. We must have laughed for at least 20 consecutive minutes. We kept imaging him putting these outrageous things on and walking out the house with his bodacious thighs covered by nothing but bright green nylon! It was too much!! I tried to get Nina to promise me she wouldn't say a word to Todd but she kept saying she had too! "He is going to freak out!!" she repeated, while wiping the drool that was falling from her mouth because she was laughing so hard.
Mere moments after we had composed ourselves, Todd and Teddy returned. Todd walked into the living room and said hi to Nina. It was too much! She looked at him, burst into laughter, and hid her face in the pile of pillows next to her. Todd tumbled next to her, laughing as well, but still unaware that he was the butt of the joke! He asked her what was so funny and she just shook her head, laughing heavily. I warned her to not spill the beans but not no avail...she looked at Todd and said, "You're gonna freak!" Todd looked at me and laughed right along with her, eventually figuring out it had to be something about his costume. After a few minutes, she looked at me and asked me to pull up the picture of his tights. I complied :)
The look on Todd's face was beyond priceless!! I wish I would have videotaped it!! It was a weird combination of horror, dismay, disbelief, wonder, amusement, and flat out...HOLY SMOKE!!! What was best was how Nina kept covering her face in the pillows!!! She was so amused but also understood the implications of her father wearing such an outrageous get-up!!! I have always appreciated her sense of humor, but now....now it was taken to a whole new level!
Our day had started off terrible and been perked up at Todd's expense :) Being the great father that he is, he agreed to wear the tights. I bet he'd take wearing britches any day over the prospect of wearing these green tights!!! Our day ended with fatigue and constant little naps. The dreaming and near-hallucinations subsided. Nina went potty produced something we only thought Paul Bunyan capable of but alas our precious 5-year old honey-girl did. When she was done, she smiled and said, "My belly feels better!" Sweet girl!!
We thanked God for BMs, laughter and for sleep! I also secretly thanked God for men's bright green tights!!! I think Nina did too :)