Stronger by the Dozen

Good morning Army,

I'm saying hello on this beautiful Friday from Norfolk with sweet Bindi by my feet and a cup of coffee to keep me warm. I'm feeling grateful. Abi finished her twelfth round of meetings with Nila (and friends) this week, and she says that she is feeling just fine. We're excited for a weekend of birthdays for John and Marcia and she's gearing up for her upcoming siblings weekend with Joe, Evan, Katie, and John. Her energy has seemed steady, and while she did rest a bit yesterday, she had enough sass in her spirit to debate which Game of Thrones characters she and John were. It got a little edgy, I'm not going to lie. The names "Reek" and "Ramsey" were on the table at one point...  

It's been two months since I've been able to join Abi for her meetings and I'm grateful, as always, for the time I get to spend with her. For those who haven't seen her in person for a bit, I'm convinced Abi's hair is growing in nicely, looking darker and fuller than the last time I saw her. She claims it's just a little longer and less sun-kissed due to the the shift into the fall season, but I'm thinking it's more than that! And I'm in denial that summer is over. Luckily, we got to enjoy the 70 degree weather yesterday and take a beautiful boat ride for a little bit to catch some rays - thanks Paul and Chris! See? Summer.

It's been funny to compare the first few months to today, as I noticed some small things that show how far we've come. Most noticeably was when I caught Abi packing her own snacks before heading to VOA. I immediately had a flashback to our secret strategies of packing an entire second bag of sustenance and how to convince her to eat something. Though Nila wasn't there yesterday, we had someone who shared our girl's name (though we didn't get confirmation on the spelling) and she moved quickly. Where we once used to take every step nervously, holding hands in anticipation of each prick and prod, we now talk through them and laugh afterwards, reflecting back on the "early days" and how tense we used to be for Firefly at the end. 

I share these things with purpose because they're examples of ways Abi seems to have adapted to her "new normal". Going to treatment for twelve rounds is not "normal", I would say, and while there is a comfort in adapting to a routine, I know that it is more than appreciated that everyone reaches out, sends love, and treats Abi with thoughtfulness as though it's not "normal". Emotionally, physically, and mentally, Abi seems to be stronger by the dozen, but I know that for her and her incredible family, each day is the most important day. 

Thank you, as always, for treating each day like day one, and for giving the gift of love, time, prayers, and thoughts. It seems like every time there's a call out to the army for thoughts and prayers, quality time, or some form of love on any given day, everyone delivers in a way that's indescribable. She's been carrying your strength since day one.