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Grade 6 – Done and dusted

So this wasn’t the easiest of years.

Zander recently told me that I was often short-tempered this year.  I was rather suprised.  That is something that I work hard at not to be.  I homeschool him to give him a better education.  An education with less stress.  Being short-tempered would go against what I’m trying to do.  I do understand though.  I had to homeschool while getting chemo, while ending up in hospital too often, through operations and radiation. All while supporting my mom as much as I could.

It was a tough year.  Yet, here we are at the end of it and he excelled.  He has an average of 79% with 3 distinctions.  I could not be more proud.  I could not be more proud because he managed to work harder when I was able to.  I’m proud because he never ever complained – even when I was short-tempered.  I’m proud because he is such a good kid.  He is sweet, caring and has the biggest heart.  He does his best to be easy-going.  He is very much like my dad.

We had his art class prize-giving this week.  He goes there every Wednesday, the entire morning.  That’s his Wednesday “school” (which means that we had to fit school into just 4 days a week!)  He loves it.  He loves Aunty Amanda.  He loves all his friends there.  It’s just perfect for him.

She mentioned that we must remember that we are firstly their moms.  That building character is just as important as education.  That the matric certificate you get to show during an interview takes a few seconds for them to look at but it’s the character that will be the deciding factor in the end.  It’s very true.

I think he built a lot of character this year.  He has grown up some.  Sooner than I wanted to, he had to cope with my illness.  The possibility of losing both his mom and Ouma.  He had to cope with seeing us in hospital (too often), sick and barely able to move around.

He did it though.  He did it with much help and love from his brothers and Kyla.  He is one amazing little guy.

Enjoy your holiday, Zander.  Can’t believe you are almost in High School!

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Six months

Today, six months ago I had my last chemo treatment.  SIX months.  It feels like ages and yesterday all at the same time.

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I look better.  I have hair.  I look healthy (fat but healthy)  I look normal actually.  People think I chose this crap hairstyle.  Yes, crap because it’s still not near proper.

I’ve read an article lately.  Just some extracts:

The pain, the scars are a constant reminder that I have changed so much.  How could I not.  But at the end of the day, I’m still me.

This is the part I’m struggling with now.  On the outside I look healthy.  You don’t look at me at the grocery store and make eye contact and think “Oh that poor girl, I bet she has cancer”  On the inside though, I’m constantly reminded that I had cancer.  In the shower, it’s all the scares.  The weight gain.  I don’t have … my body hurts all the time.  I’m tired.  I never forget I had cancer.

I fear that other people have forgotten, will forget and expect me to be back to normal.  I fear that when I can’t focus at work or more recently forget everything because of chemo brain. It is not just a funny excuse.  It’s real.  That people are going to get mad at me.  When I cancel plans because I am still so tired.  All the time.

This is cancer.  This is real.  This is life after you ring the bell.

It’s not completely like that for me. I definitely don’t want pity, it’s not that I want others to feel sorry for me. I found some truth in it though.  I have so many clients who actually thought I chose this hairstyle and they had no problem to comment on how it doesn’t look proper.  Even though I just smiled, it hurt.  I didn’t choose this.

I’m in pain.  Every day.  My legs are in agony thanks to the last chemo I had.  I can’t stand long periods of time.  I can’t walk far.  I hide it.  I don’t want sympathy. I hope that will get better.

I can’t breath.  It’s like my one lung just can’t get enough air. I know that will get better.

I forget things…the names of things all the time.  I feel so stupid.  I know that will get better.

I’m tired.  I’m always tired.  I wake up tired.  Go to bed tired.  I know that will get better.

I do less than I used to. I know it will get better.

I’m one of the lucky ones.  I’m still here.  I get to be with my children.  I get to spend time with them.  I get to tell them I love them.

For that I’m hugely thankful.  That’s what I focus on.  Just don’t expect me to be 100%.

I’m not there yet.

When he got his license – twice

Not many people can say that got their license the first time…twice.

Well, since we do like doing things differently Quintus can now say he got his license twice, the first time.

See he went for his driver’s license on Thursday last week.  He did absolutely everything right.  More than enough points to go on both his road and yard test.  Then right before he finished his road test the instructor asked him to cross lanes at an intersection.  Look, we all know they try to catch you but this was blatantly wrong and I’ll explain why.  While crossing lanes at an intersection is an @sshole thing to do in my opinion, it is not breaking a traffic law.  That is why if you look on the form they instructors fill in, it is a 3 point penalty.  Not breaking a traffic law.  If he got the 3 point penalty he would STILL have passed with flying colours.

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See, he was the only one there that day.  Literally the only person in the office building with the instructor.  And then me when I walked in after the test.  He added up all the points, did not write that he failed.  He even started drawing him a picture as to what he did wrong!?  Still didn’t write on the test that he failed.  He looked at me, I didn’t say anything and then he failed him.

Only later did I think of the fact that the only reason he failed him was because he wanted us to “ask him if he is hungry”.  I’ve just never done that before.  I don’t bribe people.

He continued to tell Quintus that his driving is really good and that he would definitely get his license on Monday.

I spoke to the lady who did Quintus’ driving lessons (best person to go to BTW) and she was livid.  She was actually the one to point out to me that he could not fail on that!!!  That he had passed!!!  I was SO upset.  I wanted to go back and give him a piece of my mind but what would it help?  They would just make sure to fail him the next time he went.

So he went again yesterday.  I was SO stressed.  What if he failed this time?  I mean failed because he did something wrong.  Well, he didn’t.  He got his license.  Since it was a illegal unnecessary fail the first time around, this was him getting his license for the first time this time.

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SO proud.  The whole family so happy for him.  A happy time.  Until he wanted to actually GET his license paper.  It took 2,5 hours!  First a forever wait in line to get his fingerprints done.

Then after waiting in line to pay, they said he needed more photos.  So he had to leave the line and go get a photo taken.  He had to fall in the line again at the back!  Get to the front and the lady tells him that he didn’t pass.  The computer said he didn’t pass!  He had to go to the other department again and speak to the instructor so that she could fix it.

Back again and he had to stand at the back of the line AGAIN.  Gets to the front and the instructor had taken out some of his papers, so he didn’t have everything he needed to pay! He had to leave the line AGAIN and go back to the instructor.  The lady then continued to tell him that he won’t be allowed back into the building until after lunch.  So he would have to wait another 40 minutes.

Some swear words later, he got the missing papers and just opened the door and walked right back in and to the back of said line AGAIN.

This time he came out with a somewhat grin on his face and his license in his hands!  FINALLY a licensed driver.

It was a long weekend….  where he just wanted to drive and I felt that he could because he actually HAD his license but he didn’t have it, so no he could not drive.  Now that he does, I haven’t seen much of him 🙂  As it should be.

Congratulations Quintus.  Please always be safe.  I need you here with me.  Remember you have the lives of others in your hands.

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Grade 6 week

The public school children went on their Grade 6 tour two weeks ago. Since I try to give Zander the same opportunities and more as his public school friends, I decided to give him a little tour of his own.

We went zip-lining on Tuesday.  It was a first for all three of us (Jason went with, since it was just days after finishing my cancer treatment and I didn’t know how my body would cope).  We loved it.  My body … not so much.  Shame, the one guy was actually very worried about me.  In the end I could barely get onto the bakkie.  I couldn’t speak, I was so out of breath.

Let’s focus on how much fun it was though!  Poor Zander was a tad light and on the last zip-line he got stuck on the line.  His weight could not bring him all the way down.  He handled it like a pro though and just enjoyed the view while waiting for them to get him down.

That Thursday we decided that it will have be an educational trip, so took him to the Cradle of Mankind.  He then went into the Sterkfontein Caves with my dad.  This was a big deal, since he has claustrophobia.  He did so well though.  He loved spending the day with my dad.  There is something special about learning from your grandparents.

We knew that the school were spending their last day at Gold Reef City.  So we planned our week in such a way that we would be there at the same time.  Quite a gamble since it’s a big place and we might spend all day looking for his friend.  We were lucky though and managed to find him.  Zander spent most of the day walking around with him.  I was SO proud of him.  He went on almost all rides.  Even ones with a 9/10 fear rating!  My poor dad went on one of the rides with us and was sooooo sick afterwards.  I felt so bad for him.  Gold Reef City was definitely the highlight of the week for Zander.

Pocket money

I really am blessed with children who have the most caring personalities.

Zander and I were driving in the car yesterday when he said the following:

“Mom, I get R100 pocket money”   I want to give R25 of that to …… and R25 to ….. because they don’t have a lot of money.

Now, R25 is not going to buy them much if anything but that is not the point.  He is willing to give away half of his pocket money because those families have less than us.

How absolutely sweet of him to be thinking of these families.  We weren’t talking about people with less money than us or how blessed we are.  They were just on his mind and he wants to help.

I do love that child very much.

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What did you do?

What did you do when you turned 16?

Well, Jason spent his afternoon donating blood.

 

He has been wanting to donate blood ever since I was diagnosed with cancer.  However he was still too young and could only do so once he turned 16.  He wouldn’t wait one day longer and did it on his birthday.

You make me so proud, Jay.  Such a selfless act and in honour of me.

He received two gifts, since it was his first time.  On our way home Jason saw a homeless man and gave the scarf he received to him.

Thank you for being the awesome son you are.

Happy birthday.  I hope that life treats you well.  That you will have more smiles than tears.  That you will learn from your mistakes.  That you will always know that you are much loved.

Soos die son.

 

Remember when

Remember when you first have your baby and you don’t sleep at night?  You tend to think that’s the worst part of being a parent.  The no sleep.

Then it’s their 2nd birthday and it’s almost as if tantrums were in one of the gift boxes.

Then at three where they believe they can do everything themselves and heaven forbid if they want to wear a unicorn outfit with elephant shoes and they can’t find something like that.

Then school, first exams, first love … and heartbreak.

It doesn’t compare.

Giving your child their first car.  That’s tough.  Yes, I know there will be other things even more scary but this is his life.  The lives of his friends, in a car.

I hope you understand how much I love you and how much I need you here with me.

Congratulations on your first car, Quintus.

Please be safe.

I love you.

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