|Princess Giggles at Radiation|
I woke up Nina around 1 am to eat her midnight meal, which consisted of oatmeal with brown sugar, butter toast, and milk. Nina ate every morsel and then snuggled right back into bed. When I returned from taking the dishes to the kitchen, I found Nina curled up into a perfect little ball. I slipped under the covers next to her and kissed her chubby cheeks. She opened her eyes and gave me a perfectly blissful smile. The night light in the bedroom made her newly chubby cheeks almost glow. I kissed her again and then without realizing it, turned on my phone. There was just something so peaceful, so sacred about cuddling with my daughter in the stillness of the night. Selfishly I wanted to not just seal this memory in my mind, but I also wanted to record it as well. So...without thinking about it I turned on the camera and started to record our little cuddle fest.
I inched up closer to Nina and she wrapped her left arm around my neck. It was perfection. I then whispered to her that I had a secret to tell her. She smiled. She knew what I was going to say :) The video below is what I recorded from this little exchange. Nina and I are whispering since it's the middle of the night but if you listen closely you hear what an angel she is!
For years I have played this game with the kids. Without notice, I'll sneak up behind them and tell them I have a secret to tell them. When they were younger, they'd always ask what and I would answer, "I love you!" Now, they just laugh at me and say, "Ya, ya I know...you love me." I love seeing the smile that emanates from their beautiful faces as I do this silly game. On one hand they find me silly, but on the other they are secure in that what I say is the truth, I love them, more than anything else in the world, more than myself!
I fell asleep cuddling with Nina. It is funny how she is cuddly with me these days. Between our two children, Teddy has always been the cuddler. As a toddler and even up until recently, Nina would cuddle for a few minutes then turn away from us and go to sleep. This always cracked us up. She had always been independent and not that needy. Even with cuddling she knew how much she wanted and when she reached her quota she would be done with you :) . If she cuddled with anyone for any length of time it was with Todd because he is such a good tickler. Now, it seemed like she really wanted to cuddle with me. Unfortunately, the same didn't apply to Todd or Teddy. It made them sad and it pained me. It wasn't personal. It wasn't that she didn't love her dada. She just didn't feel well and often times when you are sick....mama is the easiest to accept comfort from. Todd, being the great father that he is, is patient, and as such wins her heart and affection eventually each time.
The alarm clock woke me up at 8am. I hadn't even heard Todd and Teddy getting ready for school. I was exhausted and whenever my body gave in I would sleep very soundly. Nina woke up shortly thereafter, turned toward me and said, "I want Adelae! When is she going to come?" Adelae is Nina's 11 year old cousin. It is really difficult to summarize the incredible relationship that the girls have, they are more like sisters than cousins, and next to Teddy, Adelae is Nina's favorite person in the world. What was especially beautiful was that Adelae loved Nina to the same degree!
Nina had been asking about Adelae for weeks so on Monday I had arranged it with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law to have my parents bring Addie down on Saturday so she could spend a week with us. Adelae was ecstatic about the prospect and Nina was beside herself with joy. I reminded Nina that Adelae would be arriving tomorrow. Nina beamed and said, "I'm so excited that Adelae is coming to see my room." Sweet girl wanted to show her darling cousin her new room!
Shortly there after, Nina and I headed for Popcorn Friday at the Cancer Center around 9:15am. I called Todd to find out if he had heard anything from the lab about Nina's urine culture and he had not. Radiation today went as smooth as possible and so did recovery! Before leaving we thanked our Cindy for being our guardian angel during this entire trial. She had made Nina's treatment not just tolerable but even enjoyable because we could spend time with her. We greatly appreciated Cindy's company and her spirit of kindness. It made everything comfortable and peaceful!
As we drove home from treatment, the Queen proclaimed that she wanted Rice Crispie treats. We called Todd and put in the order. He was the King of Rice Crispie treats according to the kids so there wasn't even a point in me trying to make them....they were never as good as dada's! As we pulled into the driveway, we got a text from Dr. B that the urine culture looked good and as such she didn't have a bladder infection. We'd get the final complete results on Monday but at least for now we wouldn't have to add another medication.
The afternoon was a quiet one, spent lounging around on the living room mattress watching iCarly episodes. Cami and Katie came over for a quick visit. For the most part, Teddy had stopped asking questions. He would on occassion lament that Nina didn't have the same level of energy or wasn't as happy as she used to be. But he had grown accomstomed to his sister's altered state. The same could be said of Nina's same age peers and family friends who were Teddy's age or younger. They all understood at some level that something was wrong with Nina (most of their parents had explained that she was very sick). It was evident in their eyes; there was a twinge of saddness but they accomodoated her lack of energy and treated her like she was still Nina, just a more sedate and quiet version. This was true for kids Teddy's age or younger, but older kids, they understood something was very different and when I looked at them I didn't just see a twinge of saddness behind their eyes, I saw deep concern and the beginnings of heartbreak. Every time Katie came over, I saw this in her eyes. It made me sad! Nonetheless, I am so thankful that Nina is surrounded by peers who adore her!
After dinner, Todd and Teddy went to the UCSB men's soccer game while Nina and I stayed home and had a girl's movie night, with buttered (of course) popcorn and all! As the boys were hanging out with the Brennans cheering on UCSB, Nina and I munched on snacks and watched The Young Victoria. From a super young age (3 years old) Nina had always loved watching period pieces with me. My friends found it to be hysterical that my little girl loved to watch all the BBC Jane Austen series with me. What can I say....my lady has great taste!
Todd and Teddy got home late from an exciting game with UCLA where UCSB won! Yahoo...Go Gauchos!! The four of us each got a rice crispie cookie and sat in the living room just enjoying a normal family routine. In so many ways, our life was back to normal...but then again, we also knew that nothing was normal and nothing would ever be normal ever again!