The award for most supportive role in a series or drama is...Kady Moore! Applause! Cheers! Kady has always been a loving, nurturing soul. From the time she was a toddler, she would place baby dolls all over the floor, face down, and cover them each with blankets. Then, she would patiently move from baby to baby and pat their backs while they fell asleep, kiss their heads, and then move on to the next one. We called them Kady's land mines. There must have been over 20 of them at one time. At the age of 2, she successfully ran a very busy, albeit sleepy, daycare center!
That nurturing nature has only grown and blossomed in her. She is 8 now. She has matured beautifully from the hot-tempered, stubborn toddler who used to throw herself on the floor, face down, in a fit of rage when she didn't get her way to a tender-hearted, easy-going middle-schooler. Kady gets her temper from me, I hate to admit. She would be so visibly upset at times that her face would turn down in a sincere, non-duplicable frown that exactly resembled the front grill of a Mini Cooper, which afforded her the nickname, Cooper. "Oh uh, mom, she Coopering" Faith would say. Thankfully, though, Chandler, who has always maintained a calm center, would be the one who could settle her down. He would hold her tightly while she thrashed about and explain, once she was calm enough to hear his words, that she needed to sit alone until such time as she was composed enough to join the rest of the family. I, on the other hand, would just lock in her in a time-out and hide in the other room listening to her kick the door while I wondered what sort of brain damage occurred during her difficult delivery. Over the years, it took her less and less time to compose herself, so that now, the worst she gets is a little huffy.
Kady has not yet been blessed with the wonderful circle of friends that her big sister has. I don't know why that is. She has friends, some really nice ones, but I think her favorite friend has always been Faith. Sadly, Faith usually blows her little sister off and finds Kady's admiration more of a nuisance than a blessing. I am the little sister in my family and was dealt with similarly by my own sister, so I feel like it's my mini mission in life to make Faith see all of the wonderful qualities her little sister has.
The day we took Faith's x-ray, the day her pediatrician called to say that we needed to go right away to PCH, is a day I wish I could do over. It all happened so suddenly and the doctor made it seem so urgent that we neglected to really think about what this was going to do to Kady. I remember it clearer than I remember most things. I ran across the street to my relatively new neighbors, the Scott's, explained what was going on and asked if Kady could spend the night. Kady enjoyed playing with their 5 year old daughter and 3 older sons, but she really didn't know them back then and had never slept over at their house. She was scared, confused and tearful, but she sucked it up an went. The Scott's were wonderful to her. They kept her busy and fed and I am grateful to have had them, but that was the wrong decision. An epic parental failure in my eyes. We should have taken a little more time to consider what Kady needed. I don't really know why I didn't have her go to my mom's or, better yet, have my mom go to her. I just don't remember that part. I can't take it back, that much I know. I used to joke around that Chandler and I weren't saving money for weddings, we were saving money for counselors because it seemed inevitable that we will screw the kids up somehow. Well, Kady, who used to enjoy sleepovers has essentially refused to go on any sleepovers since then. Getting her to go to a play date is a struggle, too. She just wants to be near home. That makes me really sad for her, although I guess the alternative would be worse. What if she never wanted to be home? Truthfully, I kind of feel the same way. I just want to be home. Safe and sound in our own little family fortress. I was so concerned about Kady's sudden abhorrence of sleepovers that I spoke with Kim, the PCH child life specialist, about possibly getting Kady some counseling. Bless that woman for reminding me that a lot of siblings of cancer patients sometimes wish that they were sick, too, so that they could stay home and have more time with mom and dad. With all of the fear and uncertainty over Faith's health, it's no wonder all Kady wants is the stability of home. If course! How simple and how true. There's nothing wrong with Kady, nothing at all.
After we got our bearings Chandler and I decided that we would work diligently to not leave Kady out and make it all about Faith. We have planned special dates with her, had lunch with her at school when we could, and, from time to time, brought her presents from the hospital. When we were spending so much time at the hospital, Kady would look forward to coming to see Faith. Now that it's RSV season she is not allowed past the 2nd floor, a fact she is most unhappy about. Thankfully, there are no planned trips back. Faith belongs to a program called Chemo Angels. The Chemo Angels are people who have gone through chemo and who volunteer to send Faith little packages to cheer her up along the way. The packages come about every other week and contain anything from stickers and markers, to candy and new books. Chandler noticed that Kady would begin to slump every time Faith got another package, so he started to "mail" Kady packages. He would put a daddy love note and include some stickers, candy or gift cards for her and slip it in the mail box. She would light up when she got those. So much so, that she has voluntarily made checking the mail her responsibility! Once again, it's the little things that truly make all the difference. And, once again, I have to say how blessed I am to have married a man that is my friend, my love and a wonderful dad!
One day while Kady and I were driving home from the hospital, I asked her what she thought about all of this. She said that she was sad and wished her sister wasn't sick. I asked her what she REALLY thought about it. How was it affecting her. I gave her permission to be as honest as possible by including my feelings of anger over having to be at the hospital so much and other details. She shocked me. She said that she was angry because the whole time that she was 7 years old all she wanted was to be 8. She figured that 8 was going to be vastly better than being 7 and that Faith being sick was really screwing that up! What?!? When I asked her to clarify how 8 could possibly be better than 7, she confessed that she thought her sister would want to play with her more when she was 8. That's the age that you get out of a booster seat and truly become a big girl! But now, her big sister was sick and couldn't play regardless of if Kady was 8 or not. Heart. Break. Ing.
Kady is human and she 8 AND she is a girl, so naturally there are times when it's evident that she is tired of our little world revolving around planet C. But, really, truly, those times are few and far between. That child's heart is so full of love for her sister, for her whole family! The days leading up to Faith's surgery, Faith was as cool as a cucumber, but Kady was a wreck. She sobbed every night for sister. Tears of worry that her sister would hurt, tears of sadness that her sister had to even go through it at all, and of course, tears of fear that her sister would lose too much blood and die. I had no idea where that one came from. We would hug her tightly and console, trying to convince her that Faith would be ok. That was hard considering that I wasn't completely convinced myself. The surgery was on a Wednesday, dance day for Kady. This child, who loves her dance class and looks forward to it every week, had to sit on the side and watch because her stomach was so knotted with worry that she couldn't dance. A couple weeks later, while in the hospital with Faith during a round of chemo, Kady's teacher texted me to share that Kady was sobbing after recess because she was missing Faith. The principal had to come take her on a little walk and reassure her that everything would be ok. I cannot say enough about the gratitude I feel for both of the girls' teachers and all of the staff at their school. The days just after our diagnosis, Kady's teacher would walk her out to the crosswalk to alleviate some of Kady's anxiety about who was picking her up. She didn't have to do that, I didn't ask her to, but she did it anyway. For weeks, she took extra time out of her day to take extra care of my baby.
Kady is so much better these days. On a typical day, she wakes up in a good mood, smiling and joking around, sometimes even declaring that she's happy. When I've asked her why or what she is happy about, she just shrugs her shoulders and says she's not sure why. She makes certain to kiss her sister before she heads off to school, then she's off. Like a little Kady tornado, she swoops out the door and then the air is still, a little less enegergized for sure. I know a big part of her healing was the great group of neighbor kids she rolls with every afternoon. I thank God everyday for them. I also think she has just gotten used to the new norm and feels comfortable with her roll. She did make a point to thank Chandler and I during our celebration over our last in-patient for never letting her feel less-important!
I could go on and on about all of the selfless, wonderful ways that Kady helps out. Or, I could share a multitude of cute "Kadyisms" including the way she adorably messes up big words, but the bottom line is this...she rounds our family out. To quote Jerry Maguire, she completes us. She is the light in our dark, the sweet in our sour, just the perfect amount of spunk, tenderness, humor, and compassion all rolled into the most perfectly disheveled little 3rd grader that ever came up and held your hand at just the right moment kind of kid every family needs, and we just love her to pieces❤