As Peter pulled away with Sal in the trailer, tears began to roll down Maddie’s face. “When will we see Sal again?” Maddie asked over and over, and unfortunately I had no good response. We had just had a wonderful three day vacation at the Common Ground Country Fair at the MOFGA fairgrounds in Unity, Maine. Sal is a drafthorse that I used to work with at the Chewonki Farm, and Maddie is quite attached to her.
Although it made my heart ache a bit to have to tell Maddie that Sal was headed back to the farm and we would not see her for awhile, it occurred to me that it was refreshing to see Maddie focused on something other than her leukemia treatment. Now that we are only going once a month for treatment Maddie seems to have the mental space to focus on other parts of her life-interactions with schoolmates in preschool, work with me at home, hikes with Mom and Dad, camping out for the first time, and more. In fact, Maddie made this transition weeks before, but at that moment in the parking lot of the livestock area at the fair, it struck me that as time has passed her treatment is becoming less and less prominent in her thinking. This is not to say that we don’t still have our fare share of struggles with putting her “Tubey” in, taking her daily does of meds, fasting before her lumbar punctures, trying to help to her understand why kids at school call her a boy because of her short hair, etc., but things are settling out into a nice routine for us all. Her sickness does not come up as often now, which, as a parent, is tremendously satisfying.
In terms of her health, Maddie’s bloodtest numbers continue to look good. She has more than enough energy to keep us all busy, and recently we are going through one of those stages in which Emily and I see much of our own stubborness reflected in our child. She is becoming an independent little one, and on many occaisons we find ourselves reminding her that it is not always just about Maddie. It is a good lesson for all three of us!
We continue to feel blessed to have the support of friends and family, as well as those we have never met who write to us with words of support and encouragement. Thanks to one and all for those gifts.