Last week, Cadence attended the Rock n' Roll Camp for Girls San Diego, #rocknrollcampforgirlssd a camp bringing community together to empower girls through music. Check it out here: Rock n' Roll Camp for Girls
Here's what I want to say....
First... thank you to EVERYONE involved. I'd name names, but there were so many people who came together to make this happen. Please know that you all made a difference. I do have to give a special thanks to AC - Angela Cutrone for giving Cadence so much of her heart and sharing so much of her talent.
Cadence wasn't sure about going to camp, especially because it was all day, every day for FIVE days. She wasn't sure she'd be able to do it. She's had a few dozen heart surgeries ( #CHD )and has several health issues. She takes medications three times a day, every day, and gives herself injections every morning. She has a pacemaker. She'll need medical care and heart surgeries for the rest of her life. She's never spent five full days alone (without Mom or family) anywhere...ever. In fact, this is where we started:
For her to go all day - all those days - without being sick, anxious or having to call Mom was a true miracle. For her to find her place in this world (other than on a surfboard or in her Tae Kwon Do class), but to truly find 'herself', was a blessing. Friday night, after the last day, I took her to dinner. She told me she got to write her own fight song. She told me she's brave now. She's strong now. She won't be scared of school now, and if she is, she knows she can get through it.
Though we've worked very hard to raise her to be proud of her scars and to know the scars are marks of beauty and strength, we still know they're marks that differentiate her. After camp, Cadence told me she's not worried about how her scars look because it's not important, what's important is on the inside and she's proud of who she is.
She's always had "the hair". It went away for a while, but it came back during the week. Just in time for the show.
School is very difficult for Cadence. She works very hard and doesn't always get the results she wants. But at camp - oh camp - she learned the drums so fast. And she excelled. She was amazed at how easy it was for her to learn. I told her to remember this when she goes to school - to remember she's capable of learning anything. For goodness sake, if she can learn to kick so much ass on the drums in one week, I'm pretty sure she can get through a reading assignment! We cheered together.
And she never let go of those sticks!
Cadence has several health difficulties, especially with her GI system making her feel sick almost daily. She takes three medications, two times a day to alleviate her stomach pain/sickness. She usually comes home from school 2-3 times a week due to illness. She didn't feel sick once - not once - during the whole camp. YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW AWESOME THIS IS. No one will know how incredible a feat this is. We live an hour away from camp, so I couldn't leave the area, especially because of Cadence's health. But, honestly, I spent my first two days waiting for the phone to ring.
It never did.
She never needed me. Not once.
Which was beautiful. For her.
She even felt well enough to surf every night at Moonlight. Or at least play in the water.
She's never spent a night away from us. Never. Not once. And she's 11. She told me, Friday night, she thinks she's ready to spend the night. "At grandma's. We'll take it slow," she said. ;) But still --- huge step!
Highlights of the camp:
Her first jam.
Breaking her drum stick.
Meeting this guy! #JasonMraz
Making new friends!
And, as always, seeing one of the most important boys in her life: Cody. I'd be remiss if I didn't thank the fabulous Cody Lovaas and family for their generous sponsorship of Cadence to attend this camp. What a difference it made in her life. All our love to you and your family. xo #CodyLovaas
I know the camp is meant to empower girls, especially through music. It's done its job.
You've taken a nervous, fairly ill child, who wasn't sure she could learn or even last the week, and turned her into a brave, fierce, kick-butt drummer with a new fight song.
We named her Cadence for heart rhythm, ironically. All these years, she's always been known as Cadence, the heart patient. That was her life rhythm.
Now she's Cadence, named for rhythm. She has a new life rhythm.
She's the one with the drum sticks in her back pocket, the sushi in her back pack, and the surf board under her arm. She beats to her own drum. Thanks for making her drum a little better.
Wanna see #RockStarCadence ??
Check it: 1 Chance - The Band
The Mitchell Family