This post, as titled, could be about this blog. Or “stalled” perhaps more aptly. Not sure why, but I just haven’t felt compelled to write much here lately. That is, I think of little tiny things I could write here…glorified Facebook statuses (stati?) really. But nothing meaty enough for a whole post.
I’ve also stayed away because I’m trying to stay focused on the novel I’m writing. As those of you who follow my page over on Facebook know, I’m taking a Facebook vacation for the month of May as part of BoNoProMo – Boston Novel in Progress Month, initiated by my friend Lisa Borders. The idea is to spend 10 hours a week on our novels. I’m definitely not hitting that goal, nor did I think I would, but I definitely *am* succeeding in spending more time writing. I’m also on board (sort of) with another writing pep rally / challenge called the Muse100, which is to write for 30 minutes every day for 100 days. I’m modifying that to simply writing every day, even if it’s just five minutes, forever. (Knowing that, there are SOME days it obviously won’t be possible. Like if I’m ever in a coma, for example.)
Wait. Where was I? Oh yeah — stunted. And the real reason for the name of the post:
As I think I may have mentioned before, Clio hasn’t grown much over these past two years. During her first year of treatment, she grew less than a quarter of an inch. This year, her growth has definitely picked up. But she’s still a peanut compared to Elsa and a lot of other kids her age. When people guess at how old she is, the usual answer is five. The age she was when she was diagnosed.
Supposedly a lot of kids have a growth spurt once they’re off treatment. I don’t think Clio will ever catch up to Elsa,
who has always been taller. But I do hope she gets a few inches closer. It would (will!) make me happy to see her growing the way your average healthy child does. As much as I love how freakin’ adorable she is.
I sometimes wonder if there are other areas of her growth that have been stunted by this crappy little boat trip. She’s always been a mama’s girl, but I wonder if she’d be less so if she hadn’t been given obvious reason to want to stay close and cuddly. (Not that I’m complaining about the cuddling part, mind you; but there are times when I wish, for her sake, that she felt comfortable going further afield, like Elsa.)
When I see Clio among other first graders, particularly the two other girls that she and Elsa hang out with the most – daughters of friends of ours – she seems more like a little sister than a contemporary. Elsa and the other two are tall and rangy and giggly and precocious and outspoken and at times almost tween-ish in their gestures and expressions. (God help us!) Clio hangs in and follows along — for a while, anyway — and they are never unkind to her. But sometimes she complains that they don’t listen to her, or let her decide what to play. And often, she just doesn’t seem quite like one of them. I think she used to much more.
But Clio has always marched to a different drum. She has always been more of a watcher than a doer in social settings. And she has always seemed to me simultaneously younger and wiser than other children her age. But contrast feels decidedly greater now. Whereas in the year before she was diagnosed, I remember feeling that gap was starting to close a bit.
It will be interesting to see what happens once all the meds are out of her system, her energy is back to 100%, and this experience is behind her. Maybe she’ll shoot up like a weed and start asking for her own iPhone.
Or maybe this is just who she is and always was and always was meant to be? It’s so hard not to play the “what would have been if…” game. How would Elsa have changed, or not? What about Alastair? Me? Everything?
Sometimes I even get the crazy feeling liked there’s this other, parallel universe version of our family, in which it turned out that Clio’s symptoms really were just due to a virus, like her pediatrician insisted. And things just kept on keeping on. I wonder what that parallel universe family is up to. I hope they’re as happy as we are. Because we are happy, in spite of everything. We truly are.
*Why did they want to find food with Paul Newman on it? i.e. Newman’s Own brand? Because we went to the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp — which Newman founded — a couple of weekends ago. (We went last year, too.) And, naturally, they have all kinds of Newman’s Own food there. Thank you, to all of you who buy that brand, incidentally; you’ve helped make it possible for tons of kids with life-threatening illnesses (and their parents, in some cases) spend special time at some really special places, all around the world.