Dear Tessa: Ruling the Roost

Dear Tessa:

Oh look, September is half over and now seems like the perfect time to sneak in your monthly letter.  Why yes I do love myself a little procrastination, but I promise it’s not at your expense.  We have been busy bees.  Seriously though I don’t know where September has gone or what happened in it.


It has been a whole month since your second birthday, but let’s just get this straight:  You are two.  Not twelve…just two.  Okay?  Therefore this means I am still the mom…and by that I simply mean I am the boss.  You seem to think differently, but I trust we will cross that bridge soon.

It doesn’t help that you are cute as hell “grocery shopping” with your pink cart throughout the house for tennis balls, books and socks…(you remind me of myself at Wal-Mart…“Well yes I do need this pop-ice maker and lifetime supply of bobby pins.”)  You are also quite entertaining when you mother your new baby doll by carrying her around by her foot, feeding and burping her and so gracefully tossing her into a bassinet to go ni-night. Your cuteness usually prevails in our daily battles of me chasing you around the house saying, “No Tessa.  We don’t play in the toilet,” and No, no.  Kendal can’t eat crackers” and you telling me “No,no.  Mommy naw-nee (naughty)” and giggling.  I really do appreciate your sass and spunk even though some days it feels like this is your house, and I am just living in it.

By the way, you are potty training.  POTTY TRAINING!  AND BY THE WAY, you are rockin’ it!  Seriously…I keep saying that I hope this instant success doesn’t wear off after a while.  You are making it real easy.  I love that this is a milestone people tend to think you should not be accomplishing yet, or that this is a task that can take some time for children with special needs.  But just know that you are proving them all wrong.  Maybe we are not close to being done yet, but maybe we are.  I don’t care.  The fact is that you are doing it like a champ.

We took you to Madison again on Tuesday for routine blood work.  Honestly I have gotten to the point where I don’t think about any of it in between appointments.  I am happier doing so.  Each day I am home with you is another day to appreciate actually being home.  But going back is hard.  It all becomes real again.  I have no choice but to be reminded of it.  And there are days like Tuesday that sting more than usual.  Your counts were stable, with platelets being low as usual.  The blast cells circulating in your blood went up quite a bit.  Tuesday confirmed that things are speeding up.  We discussed the reality of the illness taking form in your little body.  It looks as though you could begin treatment before the end of the year.

To look at you, to see you…one would never know.  That just tells me that you really are not letting this stop you.  Your spirit is vibrant.  Your strength heals your mama.  If you can be strong, so can I.  It is okay.  We can do it.  But today we won’t worry about it, promise.

Just keep doing what you are doing, and I will do the same.


Love, Mom

2 thoughts on “Dear Tessa: Ruling the Roost

  1. Thanks for your new post, Becky. I think of you, Tessa, and your family just about every day. I know there are differences in the roads of diagnoses and time lines and treatments…..but being in the Down Syndrome, leukemia game ourselves, I feel your writings. It is good therapy for me as a mom. I share so many of your ups and downs. Some days I still feel sorry for myself and think that I probably have a little PTSD from the events of our last year. Lucy’s treatment has left me with the challenge of removing what is left of a small chip on my shoulder. But most days….I look at my daughter in total amazement! She is the most sincere little person i have ever met. She is so funny and so real. She is getting bossier with her brothers, loves her baby dolls, and wants to mix up some cookies every day!

    You are such a great writer, not to mention a pretty awesome mom. Thank you for sharing your story. We cherish our copy of your book and talk about it often.

    I know the feeling of waiting for more “numbers” and keeping your
    Feelings on standby. Even when so many people are near and so
    Desperately want to help, having a seriously ill child can feel so
    Lonely. Good luck in these next few months. If it would ever work out,
    It would be so great to meet you and Tessa and family. Until then…
    enjoy the falling leaves and fresh apple cider.

    Clarissa Cunningham

    1. Clarissa,
      Thank you for your kind and thoughtful post. I, too, think of Lucy so very much. While beginning treatment scares me so much, I know there are children like Lucy who have rocked it. It gives me hope that Tessa will do the same. I am so glad that you enjoy your copy of 47 Strings. Of course I would love to meet up sometime! Hope Lucy is doing well!

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