Friday, October 31, 2008

Everything's Coming Up Pink

birthday face

She's six years old now. Six. I can barely wrap my brain around it. How many more paper-crown-wearing, delightfully uninhibited childlike parties are left before she's "too old" for such things? The little-girl years seem to be rushing by like a strong river current now, bubbling and splashing and tumbling along toward the ocean of adulthood at breakneck speed.

But for now, at least for a little while, I get to experience the sheer joy of a plain ol' "little kid." I'm loving it. She had a great birthday this year, celebrated first with friends and family on the Saturday before her actual date of birth. There were pink decorations, gifts of pink clothing, a pink crown, and even a pink Uglydoll (Peaco, by request).

make a wish

Bella & Grayson

opening Morgan's gift

Grandmommy Lynette & Bella

Andrea & Bella

On the day after Bella's (actual) birthday this year, a couple of major things took place, both of which I'll be posting about separately later:

After a birthday/farewell party with her kindergarten class, complete with pink (of course) cupcakes, she did go ahead and transfer to a first-grade class. There is much more to this story, but suffice it to say, until I have a chance to elaborate, that this is a far, far better fit for her, in every way. I'm blown away by her improvement in attitude, engagement, and just plain interest. It's a good thing. And you all helped.

More importantly right now, Bella's grandmother, my mom, as many of you already know via Twitter, Facebook, and BYC, went into the hospital that same day and underwent a double radical mastectomy. Yep, leave it to my mother to time her breast cancer to coincide with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As you might imagine, there is a lot more to talk about, but this is the first time I've had the energy plus a few spare minutes (prior to my passing out, which will be happening any second now) to even update this much. I apologize to anyone whose emails, messages, or phone calls I might've been missing over the last few weeks. I haven't been home much, and when I have, I haven't been conscious much.

I can tell you, very briefly, that Mom responded to her diagnosis exactly the way those of us who love her would want her to--immediately, decisively, and with extreme prejudice. She is now almost two weeks out of surgery, and I'm happy to report that her lymph nodes were negative for cancer. She's looking amazingly well (as usual), and rallying like a champion. She's a bit miserable from the surgical drains that are still in, but the woman is truly inspiring in this struggle, as in everything.

We have not yet seen the medical oncologist or determined the next step in the course of her treatment, but from all early indicators, my mother should be around for many, many more of Bella's birthdays.

Grandmom & Bella

And we would certainly not have it any other way.

(Oh, and Bella's showing-you-her-bottom-teeth smile in so many of these pictures? She has her first LOOSE TOOTH, an event which has been awaited with all the eagerness which you could possibly imagine any event ever being anticipated, plus some. It's a lower incisor, and yes, it's loose. And will fall out. Soon. NOT SOON ENOUGH, but soon. And she says she's "been told" that the Tooth Fairy leaves a dollar these days. You'd think that under current economic conditions, the Tooth Fairy would be trading in Yen by now, wouldn't you?)


  1. Happy birthday, Bella!

    Glad to hear you made the decision to move her up; it sounded like she was ready.

    I'm sorry to hear about your mom, but I'm very glad she came out fighting. It sounds good!

  2. "Mom responded to her diagnosis exactly the way those of us who love her would want her to--immediately, decisively, and with extreme prejudice."

    This cracked me up.

    A huge happy birthday to Bella (and from the Lad!), and I'm really, really glad for you that your decision is working out.

  3. What lovely photos! Love the one where she's delving into a bag filled with pink tissue paper - the look on her face is wonderful :) Happy birthday Bella!

    Best wishes to your mum, I'm glad things are looking promising.

  4. I will keep your mom in my thoughts... but it sounds like she's quite a fighter!

    happy birthday to Bella!!!

    and I'm glad too that you decided to move her up. Did I mention that I skipped kindergarten? Yeah, it wasn't always easy, it creates an age difference that actually matters in HS, but it was the best thing my mother ever did for me, aside of course, from laboring over my birth for 16 hours...

  5. Bella: Even in a recession the TF leaves a dollar per tooth.

    Belinda: Do not let Bella and Grayson wrestle until all of Bella's loose teeth come out. (Katie and a friend's son got into a wrestling match at this age and she caught an elbow to the mouth. Result FOUR loose teeth knocked out. And let me tell you, the TF pays FIVE DOLLARS EACH for knocked out teeth)

    Thrilled to hear your Mom is doing so well.

  6. It is good to see you back and I am so glad your Mom did so well with the surgery.

  7. That's a lot of update for your little family...nice to see you back.
    Happy Birthday to Bella!
    I hope your Mom's recovery is speedy and painless.

  8. Happy Birthday, Bella! Glad that first grade is working out so well! :)

    I bought a breast cancer awareness bracelet yesterday, I thought of your mom when I saw it. Keep kicking that cancer's butt!

  9. You have a beautiful, beautiful family...both inside and out!

    Happy birthday to Bella and hugs to your mom!!!


  10. I had my annual mammogram three days ago. Your mother sounds like a very strong woman; it'll take more than a little cancer to take her down! My mom had breast cancer four years ago and is doing very, very well now. I hope the same for your mother.

  11. When my kids were Bella's age, the tooth fairy left Susan B. Anthony dollar coins for each tooth. She must have been crafty enough to get some in advance and keep them put away which worked out great because each kid has a nice collection now.

    I know your Mom is going to sail through this. If she has chemo and loses her hair I'm sure she will start a new bald-chic trend in Arkansas. She is so beautiful. I am keeping her in my prayers.

  12. I know exactly what you mean about enjoying the little girl years. I had so much fun yesterday, watching my girls sort through their Halloween treats with a friend. The way they were sitting, the stuff they were saying, it brought back so many fun memories.

    I'm sorry to hear about your mom's struggle with breast cancer. I just wanted to say that there are lots of us survivors out here, and I'm also planning to be around for many more of my daughters' birthdays and for their children's birthdays, too. I have been writing a little about breast cancer on my blog ( Or, please contact me if you need anything at all. I'm sure you all have lots of support already, but in my experience, it was always helpful to talk with other survivors.

    The treatment for breast cancer sucks to endure, but there IS treatment, and for that we can all be grateful.

  13. Oh, and Happy Birthday beautiful Bella!

  14. Those eyes, those beautiful, big blue eyes, they mesmerize! And they would hyponotize me into her guise to buy that lovely little lady what ever she desirez! Wow. Everyone is just luminous. Nice to see your mom looking so well and so obviously bucking up and doing what it takes with grace.

  15. First, Happy Birthday to Bella! SIX?? OMG!

    Second, glad you found a solution for Bella that works for all of you. And yeah, that kid? Is brilliant.

    Third, SO glad your mom's surgery went well. My BFF Shana (do you remember her?) had a double earlier this year and the drains were definitely the worse part of the surgery. Still praying that she doesn't have to do any chemo. Shana did not have any cancerous cells in her lymph nodes and did not have to do chemo, but did have radiation.

    Anyway, don't keep us waiting for a whole 'nother month for an update, will ya?

  16. Belinda~~~ So glad to see you back! Happy belated birthday to Bella, and a fast and uneventful recovery for your Mom.

  17. Happy Birthday, Bella! Six came quick. And, congrats on the decision to move to first grade.

    Blessings and healing wishes to your Mom! I hope the healing process goes quickly and from all you've said, I am not surprised by they way she's handling it all. HUGS!!

  18. Happy Birthday, Bella! Six is awesome and 1st grade is even awesomer (yes, it's a word!) So glad to hear that your mom is doing well. Big-armed hugs, all around!

  19. Wow, you have been busy. So glad that your mom is doing better and the surgery went well. I am just getting aronud to catching up on everything.

    Tell Bella to get all the money she can for her teeth. My niece raked in over twenty dollars for her first loose tooth after she made the rounds of all the grandparents:o)