Unwittingly, I've raised a daughter who thinks everyday is a celebration. When Lily wakes up in the morning, she says, "What are we going to do today? where are we going? I want to be really fancy!"

Somehow, even at 4, Lily knows that each day is a milestone. For Mike and I, it is one more day cancer-free, one more day that signifies that brain tumor is gone. For Lily, it is a party--an adventure.

With everything new thing--I am reminded how close we came to no new things--all these things are bonuses--not rites of passage, like I once believed.

The first day of school is not just a new start--it is a sign that my baby is actually growing up. And there were so many days when I did not know if she would grow up. To keep my hope alive, I used to plan her birthday parties in my head. Her 2nd party, was at home--a cowgirl theme in honor of our time in Texas. The 3rd--a princess party. Her 4th was princess and the frog. Her 5th, would be a blow out, pizza, princesses balloons, everything. Her 6th, perhaps a bowling party or ice skating. Her 10th would be her first sleep over birthday party. When she turned 16, we would throw a bash worthy of MTV. Lily's wedding--well--that would be whatever she wanted, as long as I was there with my best friends and family--all those who watched my baby beat cancer and grow up. I planned all these things--because--well, if I plan it, it will happen. Cancer is no match for my compulsive party planning.

If only it were that simple--plan a party, plan a future and it will come. I know we are so lucky--so blessed--and that sometimes a party can be just a party--sometimes, it can just be the first day of school.