She looks like a different person than the one who left second grade in May.
Her hair is longer, she has tons of sun-kissed freckles on her face, and she's looking like her old self.
Old self, like the girl we took to kindergarten in 2010.
Only this girl is taller.
I do constantly compare the Zoe we have now and the Zoe we had pre-cancer.
We will never know how she would have acted or looked if she didn't have cancer treatments for the last few years.
That "before cancer Zoe" was lost to chemo and radiation and ICU and tears and fear.
She's gone and we were replaced with this steadfast and mature girl.
That part of her life was altered forever.
And we were altered as well.
I've never been a crier at school.
I leave that for her dad to do on "first days."
But when we took her to school Monday and kissed her goodbye, she saw some friends who yelled over to her and she was off.
Turning back to wave at her family as she entered her new world with a grin on her face.
Joining in with the other kids.
The other kids who have seen her struggles, her hair loss, her tiredness, her absences from the classroom since kindergarten.
The kids who adore her and her quiet nature.
The kids that crack her up with their jokes and fart noises.
And I did it.
I teared up.
I teared up as my daughter ran off to be normal.
To be a third grader.
My daughter who was diagnosed with cancer and who we were unsure if she would live to see third grade.
But she made it.
She's having (hopefully!) her last surgery in September.
And we are learning to live without cancer.
To blend in.
And to be thankful for each uneventful and cancerless day we have...