Babygirl is 17.
How did this happen? She was 11 when she was diagnosed, 12 when she got her transplant. In retrospect, it feels like an eternity of driving, waiting, praying, suffering, rejoicing, walking on pins and needles. In my heart it feels like only moments ago that I comforted that tiny raging toddler after her weeping foster mom left her in our hotel room in Guatemala.
I wish it could be easier, for her sake. But for me? I could ask for a simpler life, but I couldn't ask for a better child. She is kind, she is funny, she is responsible. Despite all she goes through she finds reasons to laugh and crack wise.
(Funny Mission Trip Story: We were REALLY out in the boonies, no Dairy Queen in sight. But there was a local convenience shop that sold gas, snacks, milk, beer. It also had ice cream, milk shakes and 'blizzards.' At the end of a long, hot day we stopped there with our van for the first time. As we unloaded the team, one of the kids looked at the signage in the window of this tiny place and said, "They sell Vape supplies here?!?" Without missing a beat, Babygirl replied, "That's how you know it's QUALITY ice cream.")
School started two days sooner for her than for her peers locally. We opted, this year, to enroll her in an online school. (This is one more situation where I could wish we lived over the Pennsylvania border: PA has free online schooling available for any in-state student who needs it. NY does NOT. PA also has insurance that covers catastrophic illnesses in kids regardless of parental income. NY does not.) But for a fairly reasonable fee, we have her in a NYS accredited high school online. Because her former headache doctor felt she should attend school whether she had a headache or not, she did not get a single 10th grade credit, so we are starting that grade over. The advantage of online schooling is, however, that she can go as fast or slow as she needs to. She can 'attend' class as easily at 2 PM as at 1 AM. So if she is up to it, and remains motivated, she can gradually catch up some credit. Her hope is to graduate on time with a Regents diploma, which we would not be able to acheive with ordinary homeschooling. She's working on getting into a rhythm with the programing.
On top of this she has agreed to take care of her nephew, Squeaker, when he gets off the bus after school each day so that her sister doesn't have to pay for daycare. She is truly amazing. I am truly blessed.