On Thursday, June 23rd, our daughter graduated from the same high school I did 33 years ago, and my dad did 60 years ago (though it was a different building then, about a mile away). It was a surreal experience, to be sitting there watching that, remembering kindergarten like it was just a few years ago. I thought I would not be able to control the tears but I actually didn’t cry. Misted up once maybe, but no sobbing here.Tim admitted that he’d gotten choked up several times in the days prior, and I could tell by his eyes that it was getting to him at the ceremony. His experience is SO much different than most parents experiencing this. On Nov. 14th of 2007, an MM specialist blurted out to us that he would not see his daughter graduate high school if he did not take the risk to do an allo transplant. We were tied up in knots for months about whether to do it or not and it was Dr. Durie, from the IMF, who advised us not to, during a phone consult we had with him several months later, when we were thinking Tim would go ahead and do it. We will never know what would have happened, had he done it, but, he wound up going over 8 years off chemo and he certainly was there for Liv’s graduation. Tim does not talk about his MM much, but, I am no fool. I know he has to be now wondering if he will be here for her college graduation. God, I hope so.

For me, I felt relief that she graduated. It is SO hard to be a teenage girl in the world today. There have been a few times, over the years, that she was bullied and treated badly by people she thought were her friends. It was heartbreaking, but, luckily, short-lived and she generally gets along with a lot of people and hasn’t had severe issues socially. Her senior year was her best year ever and I am just so relieved and grateful that her high school career ended on a high note. Her junior year was another story, with the loss of what she thought was her best friend happening in the middle of it. Today, we all know that it was a blessing in disguise and she now knows what REAL friends are like. Her former friend group is all busted up into pieces now, but, as luck would have it, 2 of her other friends also went through major drama with their BFF’s too and now, my daughter and these girls are tight and truly love each other. It’s so awesome to see. She also has several other friends she is very close with and gone, or sidelined at least, are the drama queens and troublemakers. AND, the kids all went down to the Jersey shore for 3 days after the prom and a bunch of really nice boys wound up hanging out with my daughter and her friends and now, they are all going places and doing things as a big group. My kid is LOVING it and Tim and I are thrilled. She has always been very shy around boys and we are happy that she is starting to get over that. She has always been a people person and outgoing, so all this is right up her alley. We are hoping for a banner summer for her. So far, so good. They’ve all gone out to eat and get ice cream, the movies, and swimming at one boy’s house on Friday night. Life is good.

The hardest thing for Tim and I is that we no longer get to witness her having all this fun. The biggest joy of being a parent is getting to see the world through your child’s eyes and watching them enjoy new experiences. Now, the kid gets home late and we hear some of what happened that night and that’s it. We are still thrilled, but, there’s no doubt, we feel left out of her life and just wish we could see all those smiles. That will get even worse when she goes off to Monmouth University in Sept. VERY HARD, this sending them flying out of the nest business. Harder than I ever could have imagined. But, we console ourselves in knowing how happy she is. What more could a parent ask for?

As for me, prayers were answered as I sat next to my handsome husband and watched our daughter receive her high school diploma the other night. More prayers were answered as we watched her and all her friends pose for pics and hug and laugh. All parents were proud that night, but, there were a few kids who’d lost a parent, and our kid who lives with the fear of that every day. I am sure that we were even prouder at the fact that our kids still made it, and they did it with a courage that others weren’t forced to have. My kid survived and thrived. It was not easy for her to do this and I will never know how very hard it actually was for her under the circumstances she faced with a sick dad, but SHE DID IT.

I am proud. I am grateful. I am blessed.

Wishing you all a fantastic summer!