Friday, June 5, 2015

Rites of Passage

It was a huge day in our family yesterday. When a military child turns 10, they get their own dependent ID card. This card identifies them for BX priveledges, healthcare, but it is a rite of passage. Since Lily's birthday she's asked about a million times when we can go get it. Yesterday was the day that all the forces aligned.

Mind you, I had scheduled haircuts for Kiera and I. She is leaving next week to visit my mom in Ohio. It's not like mom couldn't take her to get a haircut- but I want them to be able to have fun and not worry about this kind of thing.

We also have a voice recital today. This has been over a year in the making. All week there are long rehearsals. We had lessons yesterday and since the girls had off school, I rearranged the time so it was closer to out hair appointments- might as well make trips efficient. Efficiency can be exhausting- but worth it. My day was full and I hadn't left the house yet. I am grateful beyond words to feel good this week.

Until the husband texts, knowing that we have a hair appointment but not knowing that as it is any given day- our schedule is more of an amoeba than a train. Sometimes a very fast moving amoeba. If we can get to base ASAP, we can get IDs taken care of. Not only does Lily need her first ID, Kiera's is expired so we want to make sure she has one for her trip and mine needs to be updated with his new rank. Which I shrug- while we are there - efficiency- but let's face it- if his rank makes a difference in the quality of care I get at Triple(what I use my ID most for) then well we have bigger issues. Sitting in the hem/onc waiting room is kinda like being on the deck of Titanic- you are all in the same boat- rank spares no one anything in that respect.

So I get the girls dressed- arrange for Bella to go play with her cousins and run out the door. We grab Phil from work and the whole ID process was amazingly easy. It means very different things for each of us. It's kind of strange, my appearance has really changed over the past year and a half. The woman on my ID is gone. I miss her. everyday. But the lady who replaced her definitely worked hard to be here- she deserves her picture on that little brown card.  Plus it gives me a new date to outlive- as my good friend Trish often reminds me- You do not have an expiration date. Kiera looks so much older than the 10 year old version of herself. She is a young lady now. Lily is vibrating with anticipation. If she had any more teeth showing she'd be a dental poster. But it's fun to hit these little milestones. I look at my husband and he looks tired. I know in his mind he's tracking work issues and realigning his day to fit this in. He is amazing with us. He works so hard. I wish it were easier for him. But I drop him back at work and zoom off to our hair appointments.

I haven't had my toes done since I started chemo. I used to do it myself. I didn't want to risk infection. One of the fun sides of chemo is how your nails really tell the story of damage you are doing to your body while trying to kill cancer. Mine are a wreck. Usually I sit there while the girls get their hair cut- but today I asked if they had time for a quick pedi. They did. How about a mani? Well I have no nails but Lily pipes up that she wants one. Of course she does. The tech shuffles us into the back room and gets us settled in the massage chairs. Oh heck this is worth it for this alone! Can my chair do that? Lily asks. She snaps some selfies and titles it Mani-Pedi. Which cracks me up. She picks a pretty purple for my toes and a dark sparkly purple for her fingers. When my toes are finished I go to get my hair trimmed and send Kiera back to get her fingers done.

Just the day before we went to her 8th grade Rites of Passage. The night before she was up late making leis for all of her friends as I sat downstairs trying to make hers. She is mine. I see me in her and sometimes it is really cool. Sometimes its frustrating as hell. The actual ceremony is a hot mess - it's what happens when you let 8th graders run shit. The 8th graders are seated in chairs in front of the stage, facing the crowd. The crowd is standing room only so they've put up extra TV's so you can watch your child on tv. Phil and I settle against the wall. This is ridiculous. They don't even call names in any discernible order. I finally hear her name and pop up to barely catch sight of her on the TV.  I wish I had time to help them make this ceremony better- but I have another 4 years to worry about it before Lily will pass through. I had really hoped it would be better than when Phillip went through it. But change is hard won in Hawaii.

Afterwards she greets all her friends and comments how she doesn't understand why she didn't make the principal's list- she had straight A's her entire 8th grade year. She worked really hard to do it too. I know it's tough to not get recognized when you work for something- but then again we have to temper that with balancing the need for everybody to be recognized for everything. I remind her that I have no recollection of how I did in middle school- going forward and learning and getting better as a person is what matters. We let her know how proud we are of her. I asked if traveling to visit grandma this summer was reward enough and she smiled and nodded- that's what I'm talking about- big picture. 

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Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)