October 2013. It was just like any other Wednesday evening in our house. I had just finished reading a story to Scarlett and I was sitting next to her in her bed. I was gently stroking her cheek and tucking a piece of her hair behind her ears when I felt a hard lump on her head that felt like a marble. I moved my hand around her head and I realized that there was more than one. I immediately ran to the living room to get my husband. As he felt her lumps – I whispered above my daughter’s head, “Could this be cancer?” In my wildest dreams, I never thought one of my children would be diagnosed with cancer. This is NYC. I worried about a cab jumping the curb or a white van with a strange man lurking on the corner but cancer? Not on my radar. Scarlett was diagnosed 6 days later with a rare form of lymphoma. I have seen Scarlett at her lowest point. I have seen Scarlett struggle. I have watched Scarlett in the fight of her life. Since that awful day, Scarlett has missed two years of school. A few weeks ago, Scarlett passed a huge milestone as she returned to school as a full time student. Our family could not be more thrilled. I can still remember the day after she was diagnosed talking to my friend Jen in the hospital hallway. I told her that the thought of Scarlett receiving 26 months of treatment seems like an insurmountable journey. I was so afraid that the initial support we had from friends would wane. I could not have been more incorrect. When Scarlett arrived at school last week she was met by smiling friends from all grades. Instead of just having a handful of good friends that she knew from kindergarten, she was surrounded by girls from the lower school to the upper school. Instead of forgetting about “the girl who had cancer”, her classmates kept her in their daily thoughts and prayers. They sent her cards and posters from the class and sometimes from the entire grade. They dropped off drawings and poems and made 91 rainbow loom bracelets to show their love and support. The Upper School school girls painted a banner which they all signed and wrote messages of encouragement. They have supported Scarlett and our family from day one and they did not forget us – instead they embraced us. One mom approached me and told me that every time she saw me at Sacred Heart I was smiling, despite what our family was going through. I explained to her that every time I am at Sacred Heart, I feel normal. I cannot express the gratitude I feel for normal. Yesterday, I picked Scarlett up from school and she was arm and arm with 2 of her friends giggling and laughing – it was music to my ears. Almost 2 years ago, I remember posting on this blog how angry I was that cancer had taken away my daughter’s carefree childhood. We are still fighting to bring it back – for good. I feel like we are almost there! Scarlett’s last scheduled treatment is in December which brings about a lot of different emotions which are not easily discussed. Mostly, I feel grateful. Grateful that there was a treatment to save my daughter. Grateful that Scarlett was strong enough to survive the treatment. Grateful for all of you for your never ending support and love. Today, and every day, I embrace “normal” because all that truly matters in life is health and love.