Monday, August 31, 2009

Questions of a Child

Any mom with cancer will tell you that one of the most difficult things about having it is figuring out how you are going to tell your children. I had several sleepless nights trying to figure out exactly how, when, what to say... There's just no easy way to do it. Always prepared and doing a little research, I ordered several books to help me. Two were for him. One for me. One of the ones I bought for him I put aside immediately. It begins with a little boy who lives in a little white house with his Mommy and Daddy and has a big oak tree in their yard, complete with picket fence. Already, it wasn't our story. Daddy doesn't live at our house, and my oak tree in the front yard is sicker than I am. It probably won't make it through the winter this year. So, I nixed book #1.

Book #2 was beautiful. It's wonderfully written, beautifully illustrated and explained things at a child's level while covering everything I needed to tell him. I've had these books for a couple months, but haven't even attempted to read them to him. I couldn't. I couldn't read the beautiful one without crying and the other one annoyed me on page one. So, I told him about my cancer without them. It wasn't planned, pretty, or something I want to do again. But, either way, I told him just before my surgery.

I made sure to read the one I had purchased for me which covered all of the questions children might ask when they hear this news. Oddly enough, his first question was the title of the book, "Can I still kiss you?". Of course, that question was followed by a lecture about washing my hands more and covering my mouth when people sneeze. (Note to self, teach him to cover his own mouth...later.) Washing my hands more?? He doesn't know that if I did that any more, I'd be treated for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. So, I had to explain that this is a different kind of "sick". It went better than I thought. I decided to just save the book for later. I couldn't possibly read it without crying and making things worse. I thought I'd know it when I needed it. That night was last night...

Something happened last night that I have been trying to avoid since my surgery. I've been very careful to make sure it didn't, but it did anyway. Brayden saw my scars. I guess I had only thought about making sure there was no way for him to see me in the shower or while getting dressed. I never counted on him jerking down the neckline of my scooped-neck PJ's at prayer time to have a look. But then, why wouldn't he? We look at his boo-boo's all of the time. He's proud of them! Why wouldn't I be the same? It happened so fast, I could do nothing about it.

It shocked him. I was terrified, not sure how to react. I saw the fear on his face when he asked, "Why did they cut you that way?" So, I calmly explained that they had to cut me to get the cancer out. "Is it all out?" he asked. I told him we think so. "Will they fix it?" Yes my dear, they're going to fix it. Relief washed over his face. "Then why do you still have your hair?" He needed to put the pieces together. I grabbed book #2. This was the time. We read through it together for the first time and he seemed satisfied. Prayer time with kisses and it was over.

This morning he awoke just like he does everyday. Happy to be here, happy to be loved, and not worried about my cancer. Turns out the fear of telling far outweighed the trauma it caused. He's got a couple new dates on his mind, September 25 and October 3. Not exactly things to look forward to, but they are what they are. And we're going to get through this together.


kitykity said...

So it's past now. That was the hardest thing, I can imagine--just getting past it. Now he knows, and it's okay. You're a great mom...


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