When I was diagnosed with cancer, our friends and family rallied around us, supported us, lifted us up, in the most amazing way. With their love and support having cancer wasn’t near as difficult as helping our children navigate life with a mother who had cancer.
All four of our children are still really affected by it. Brom’s now been weaned longer than he breastfed. Yet he still asks several times a week to nurse. And has to be gently led to a bottle instead. He still needs to touch my skin, and know I’m here.
He doesn’t have the words yet to talk about what he’s thinking and feeling, but I suspect it’s his way of making sure I’m still here, healthy and strong.
Cordelia’s had difficulties sleeping for a while now. But we couldn’t figure out why, until this week when she cried and cried and told me she’s so worried that if she can’t see me, I’ll die.
How do you ease that type of pain? How do you guide a child through that fear into place of security?
I’d love to tell her she has nothing to be afraid of, but it’s possible, though improbable, that the cancer could return, that it could be worse, that I could die. I won’t tell her she has nothing to worry about, but I do want to help her feel secure sleeping, at the very least.
Agatha is also still affected deeply by everything that’s happened. For her, the worry, the stress, manifests as anxiety, fear, anger, sadness.
I can clearly see when I make things worse for our children. A harsh word or an angry face is enough to leave them crying or screaming. All of this goes hand in hand. Once upon a time I could have a bad day, maybe say ‘no’ when I didn’t have a good reason, yell, or just generally be distant. You know. The type of day every parent has at some point or another. I could have a bad day, and my children would breeze through it as though nothing happened. Once upon a time, my children were secure in the permanence of their parents, of themselves, and of themselves. That’s all changed and takes a long time, and a lot of gentle love, to help them recover.
As we search for unforgettable, as we strive to find magic and joy in each day, we hope to guide our children back to a place of security and serenity. As parents we know this means we need to start every day aware of our goal. We need to start everyday seeking magic. We can’t roll out of bed and let the day happen. We need to create the day we want.
Today my fitbit silently woke me up. No one else stirred. I lay there and listen to my babies sleeping and marvelled at how amazing they are and how much I love them. I let them sleep.
Two Thursdays a month I set my alarm. Two Thursdays a month everyone rolls out of bed a little earlier than they’d like, and we rush out the door to drive to the city. Two Thursdays a month life happens to us. Today I decided to be in charge.
I let everyone sleep and I lay there watching the time. With two adults home only one of us had to run out, and everyone else could stay home. I was sure the extra sleep would do them all wonders.
As it turned out, Ella, Cordelia and Brom all went with Ryan anyhow, But Agatha stayed in bed until too late to go, so I stayed home with her. It was exactly what she needed!
We spent some quiet time together talking and giggling. I was able to pay special attention to her, get some chores done, and then still have time to help her run a dungeon in WOW without a little guy pulling me away. It felt so good to see a smile shining on her face almost the entire day. Nothing compares to seeing your baby smile after being so sad for so long!
When everyone else came home Brom wanted shows, so we turned a few on, but eventually they were done. He cried and he cried. He wanted more. We thought about giving him more, but we know he doesn’t do well unless he expends a certain amount of energy in a day. So we tried to entice him to do so many other things, but nothing interested him. Until: Science!
Baking Soda and vinegar can solve so many things, including Sad Baby Syndrome.
Within seconds he was happy. But it didn’t take long before Cordelia asked, “Can we colour the science mommy? I think it would be more interesting if it was colourful!” Oh the earnestness on her face was so sweet! Ryan instantly said, “It’s too bad we don’t have something to make the different pHs change colour”
*Okay, I have a Tower Garden and check pH pretty much daily. We also had a large jar of pH reactive cabbage juice left over from the Under the Sea Party. He really didn’t think we had anything.*
A few moments later everyone gathered around the table, here’s a little video of the fun!
And moments after I stopped recording, Cordelia asked, “What happens if I add the blue water to the pink water?”
The mess was EPIC! 🙂