Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On Being Bald

Even though the reason for my baldness is out of my control, kinda of scary, and pretty serious, I have come to love being bald. There is a freedom almost in it. I am liberated. We are bombarded with mirrors. This morning at the Y, I was almost surrounded. Most bathrooms at hotels and the Y are equipped with hair dryers and vanities so that we women can spend countless hours brushing, drying, straightening, scrunching, styling, and really doing anything else to our hair. I don't miss it one bit. I never really spent the before mentioned "countless hours" anyway. Therefore losing my hair wasn't traumatic for me. Check off shaving my head on my list!

There are bonuses to this new non-do. I can have all my windows in my car rolled down without my hair getting in my face or mouth. Ugh I hated that. I don't shed anymore. We used to find my hair everywhere. I don't have to wear a swim cap. Charis doesn't have anything to pull. I will save lots of money on hair cuts. And, surprisingly, it's given me a certain confidence. I feel bold. I mean- a bald head is kind of bold. I have nothing to hide behind. I get to wear really fun earrings. If I'm honest, I feel a bit beautiful in a unique way. And my husband has been uber sweet in telling me this daily.

Don't get me wrong, there are moments of great insecurities. Being bald makes me feel a bit naked and exposed. I do pride myself on not covering it up only because when I start to cover it I feel even more insecure. I know that may not make sense, but when I put on a hat or scarf I really look like a cancer survivor. Not that I'm ashamed of being a cancer survivor by any means. I feel I look more sickly. Having a head covering tells the world that yes, I have cancer. Otherwise maybe I look edgy and cool. Gosh, do I think too much about this?!

As I mentioned on my Caringbridge, I appreciate the impact I might be having on little girls, mostly at my church. Some of their moms aren't afraid to really engage their daughters on why I'm bald either, and I think that's pretty cool. I've loved the lack of filter kids have. I'm sure it mortifies their moms, but I love it. It's so freeing in a weird way. They aren't jaded by the social rules we apply. Not saying we should go around blurting out whatever we want to strangers. I just appreciate the freedom they have in asking if I'm a boy or why my hair is gone, that's all.

Cancer is opening doors in a weird way. Doors for me to trust. Doors for me to be cared for by others. Doors in our marriage to grow. Doors to ask for help. Doors to believe. Doors to hope. Doors to cling to God when I'm scared. Doors to feel beautiful for reasons I never have before. Doors to be confident. Doors to be able to shave my head and love what I see.

me and my baby girl in Charleston

Thursday, August 19, 2010

College Bound

Yesterday I said good-bye to my last high school girl. And it was sad. I've been leading YL at Country Day for four years and these girls were the first group of girls for me to walk through all 4 years with. I mainly got to know them, not really through YL, but through doing a bible study with them on Friday mornings. Our Friday mornings totally evolved over the years. We also started a Annual Christmas Cookie party that I'm hoping we'll still get to do when they come home from college. It has been so fun living life with them!

lauren, laura, me, meg, gatesy
These girls definitely became my friends. They've been with me through having a baby and now having cancer. I know that's a lot for most high schoolers. But because of the depth of these relationships it wasn't weird to share this part of my life with them. In fact, I'm sure God is using it. I love these girls. And I am so sad to say good-bye to them. It's really a see you later b/c I know we'll be friends for life. Like I am with girls from Concord when I was a leader in high school, or girls from Louisiana. I think 4 years is the longest I've been a leader at one school, so it's been such a gift to walk through life with these girls.

me & ashley
With them leaving I'm realizing how nervous I am about the new year. I usually love fall b/c with it comes high school football games. I know, weird. But, football games are the best place to meet and see kids. Plus they are just fun. But this year I'm a little nervous. What is it going to look like being a YL leader with cancer? I have no idea. And the girls I'm closest to are gone. Walking into a high school is scary anyway, throw in the fact that I'm bald. I can't meet a new girl without explaining why I'm bald. And with the girls I do know I think it will feel a little awkward. It puts them in a little bit of a weird position's the not so invisible elephant in the room. Clearly, my processing this isn't coherent. I can't really explain it and I'm not sure people really get it. So forgive the blabbering

kathryn, me and elizabeth
As I was thinking about all this yesterday I realized that cancer is not only changing my life, it's changing my ministry. Or at least it should. My hope is that I will be more bold in my pursuit of girls and more bold in my ability to share the Gospel with them. I mean, I have nothing to lose. I know doing young life is going to look different and it has to. I love high school girls, that hasn't changed. But I'm definitely nervous about the new year...going deeper with girls I know and meeting new ones...having cancer, being bald, surgery, etc. Maybe I'll just go get that pink wig.

hannah, kelsey, claire, me, tyler, sara
All these pictures are from the senior convocation last fall (hence the baby belly). I didn't get a large group pic, but a lot of little ones. :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

NINE months of charis root

Nine months is definitely one of those milestones. Something seriously happens in this ninth month. At least it has for us. Sometimes I long for those days when she was itty bitty, but oh how we are LOVING these days now. Charis continues to rock our world and we are so thankful. We are fresh off our first family vacation and we had such a fabulous time. Here is what she's been up to lately...

first time at the beach with daddy

- She is becoming a little girl. I know she's only 9 months, but she is way more interactive with us and her environment. For so many months she, as a baby, she doesn't really interact with her world. Not any more. Now when she drops a toy she looks after it to see where it went, as opposed to thinking it was gone forever.

couldn't resist the bandana

- She is very determined. You can see it in her face. And she's persistent. All of this will probably end up meaning she is "strong willed." She is also super sweet. So we have a complete package.

this may look like the face of determination...but it's poo poo

- She's crawling. In fact, shortly after turning 8 months she was off. It seemed to only take her a few days to figure it out. Now she's unstoppable. I can't safely leave her on the carpet while I get stuff ready in the kitchen. She quickly finds the electrical cord or dirty flip flop. I'm thinking of investing in the Shark to keep our floors clean b/c it's hard to wash her hands. But soon she may be walking and we'll be out of this stage. Although I'm in no rush for that!

she usually likes to crawl with toys in her mouth

- She still loves to eat and is a great eater. A few new dishes she's had is real Louisiana Gumbo, grilled chicken, and blueberries. Blueberries are like crack. A few of her favorites are cinnamon oatmeal w/ apples, yogurt, and avocado & black beans. I've pretty much blown all the rules of waiting 3 days before trying new things. I'm throwing caution to the wind (for the most part) and giving her lots of stuff. Fortunately, her pediatrician encouraged me that we can give her whatever we are eating.

enjoying some real louisiana Gumbo

- She still has no teeth, but this does not stop her from gumming her way through anything.

- She had her first blowout! It was a mess!! I walked in her room after a nap and it was everywhere. Probably with black beans. She didn't take it out or anything like that, it literally blew out of her diaper while she was sleeping. I hope it doesn't happen again b/c I do not want to clean that up again

poor thing with poo all over her!

- Now for some official stats: she is 27 inches, 18.3 lbs, and still no teeth or sign of them breaking through. Our visit with her pediatrician was good, despite 2 shots.

still loves the Ergo with daddy

- We had our first family vacation this week and she enjoyed crawling around in the surf. She tried wet sand once but realized it wasn't as good as her usual delicacies. She didn't really like the crashing waves when we walked out, so we stayed in the surf where it was safe and fun!

crawling in the surf

- She is able to play with us more. She loves peek-a-boo and chase. Adam is really good at playing chase with her and she giggles with the anticipation of getting caught. It so fun!

- She loves books. Especially the touch and feel books. We've noticed that she touches with her middle finger, so it looks like she's flipping us the bird.

check out the birdie!

We are loving every bit of parenthood. I'm slowly anticipating the next step. Soon she'll be walking and more mobile and probably more independent. She'll lose the bottle for a sippy cup. She'll eat more with her hands then maybe a utensil. Gosh, I don't want to miss anything. I keep thinking back to last summer, around this time. I was excited about her arrival in our lives. I had no idea what to expect. I was nervous about becoming a mom. It wasn't what we had "planned" but I would not trade this for anything. Especially now. She brings so much joy to our lives. With cancer, it's not like life is sad or depressing. It's just that there is this whole other thing vying for our attention, time, energy, etc. Having Charis makes all that so much better. She is clueless to what we are going through, and I'm so thankful for that. We get to enjoy every bit of her. Before I anticipate what's next, I'm making an effort to enjoy each sweet day with her as she explores, changes, develops, grows, and looks at me with her big, sweet chocolate soup eyes.