Cancer parents trudge through spinal taps, bone marrows and hospitalizations with relative ease. Of course these things come with their own level of stress. These things bring the reinforcements of non-cancer parents, the relatives and friends, out for support. The problem with the chemo, taps, and long hours at the clinic is that they are normal.
This always sounds odd to those who have not experienced pediatric cancer.
This is part of having a child diagnose with cancer. It makes sense. You do this, you breathe you say, this “insert whatever procedure, drug or moment” will be over soon. The non-cancer people, post comments about strength and wonder how you make it through, and you wonder yourself. But really that cancer-only-stuff can be dealt with moment by moment.
The strength comes from surviving the little things.
The change of season has so many moms, or dads, changing the wardrobe from short-sleeve to long, from short pants to long, and dragging out the sweaters. Tonight I asked my little bald-headed-beauty to help me by trying on a few things. I see her naked all the time during her baths, but something about seeing this naked, little tiny thing trying on clothes broke my heart. She is so tiny. Most parents donate, sell or freecycle their children’s clothes. Last spring, I put Isa’s winter clothes back into her box. You know, the box that most parents keep around for the next season. The place you put all those great deals you found at yard sales over the summer. The clothes that are SUPPOSED TO BE BIGGER.
Children are supposed to grow. Instead, Isa has lost FIVE pounds since January 11, 2009. LOST WEIGHT!!!! She weighs 27 pounds. She’s grown a half-inch. Stop and look at your child. How many pounds have they gained since January 11. How much have they grown. Did you have to buy them new shoes recently? When her grandmother came to visit this summer, she bought her size 2, which was two sizes smaller than what she wore in January. Dragging out the box was prompted by the colder nights. The girls needed warmer jammies. Isa’s wore her polar bear jammies the day we were told that she had leukemia. Last night, she wore them again.
So, once again, instead of giving away her little summer dresses, I put them back into the box. Ideally those dresses will be given away in April or May when I switch around the seasons. But likely that won’t happen. Papa says that the only thing worse is having to throw away the box.