I have always had a very strong personality.
I was a stubborn and loud child.
I now have a stubborn and loud child.
I don't like it when people say things to mothers such as "I hope you have a daughter who turns out just like you."
It's never meant in a caring, loving way.
It's always a dig.
It's always meant to hurt.
I'm sure it's been said to me.
I'm not afraid to voice that opinion.
And yes, I have a daughter who is just like me.
One of my daughters looks like me, but has her father's quiet demeanor.
The other daughter looks like...I don't know who she looks like...but she acts like I do.
And that's just fine with me.
My stubborn ways and fierce voice have helped our family get through some harrowing days.
I'm in no way perfect.
Far from it.
I can sometimes think too quickly and then spew garbage from my mouth.
I am sometimes too honest.
You know, those things you think about later and say to yourself "wow, I sure shouldn't have said THAT!"
But, I see these flaws and I'm working on them.
When Zoe was diagnosed with cancer, I didn't cry.
I got mad.
How dare this interrupt my daughter's young life?
She was brand new.
She had only been on the earth for five years.
She had just started full day school two weeks prior.
I was determined, from the first minute of knowing she had leukemia, that she would not go down.
And that I would go through this with her as if my healthy body could somehow find its way into her body.
My energy would be her energy.
My positivity would be her positivity.
We did let her cry.
We did let her ask "why is this happening to me?"
But we didn't let her stay there too long.
Despair doesn't heal.
I was always present during procedures.
I would help hold her arms or legs when she would get a spinal tap.
I wasn't going to let a nurse speak quietly into her ear as the doctor inserted a needle into her spine.
She would hear my voice.
I would penetrate through the sedation drugs.
I firmly believed that my voice would override the pain or discomfort.
If she couldn't eat before a sedation, I wouldn't eat.
It was only when she was wheeled off to surgery or the spinal tap was completed, would I then take a bite of an apple.
When she was fit for her radiation face mask, her father and I stood behind a wall in the room she was in.
The radiation face mask fitting was, by and large, the most terrifying thing that she went through.
As soon as the fitting was over I swooped from behind the wall, telling her we would go get some Dunkin Donuts in the hospital lobby.
I was yearning for control.
Needing to feel control in a situation that, in all reality, I had no control over anything that was happening at all.
Either the medicine would work.
Or it wouldn't.
Either she would live.
Or the cancer in her blood would live.
Killing her in the process.
Her sister was only two.
She was only five.
This isn't what was supposed to happen.
This wasn't the storyline I had signed up for.
My husband and I had decided to have children.
They were planned.
How dare cancer try to take away a member of our tribe.
I'm not a tiger mother.
I'm more of a serval mother.
And this cat wasn't going to let her kitten go down without a loud, opinionated, stubborn fight.
My daughter's school principal told me today that a friend's daughter was just diagnosed with cancer.
She's only 12 years old.
She asked me for some advice.
I told her to tell her friend to ask many questions, to the point that she may think she's asking too many questions.
To become stubbornly loud.
Because her daughter can't fight this kind of fight herself.
She needs a serval mother.