Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Understanding?

Last Sunday the Captains and I went to see some old friends of mine who happened to be visiting Baltimore. They were staying on a boat which was at a slip in the Inner Harbor, so it was lovely to sit and have lunch and chat with the breeze in our hair. When lunch was finished, the adults remained sitting at the table and the two children played nearby. The other couple's daughter is also an only child, very pretty and nice. Despite their age difference (I think she's 8?), she wanted to play with Capt. Adorable, which made me happy.

I talked a long time about my cancer. My friends asked several questions and I gave detailed answers. When I was finally done, the girl persuaded her mother and I to let her take Capt. Adorable to her cabin below. Much to my surprise, they were back in like 2 minutes. Capt. Adorable had obviously been crying and the girl told me, "he started crying because he missed you." I was a little surprised by this since he had wanted to go below.

For the rest of the day, he talked to me about how such and such would make Mama feel better and so and so would keep Mama safe. He was rather clingy and grumpy, which I had chalked up to tiredness (our visit delayed his nap by a couple of hours), but when I thought about the day I realised that although he's heard me talk about cancer before, and of course I have talked to him honestly and openly (yet trying to keep it age-appropriate) about it, but never has he heard me talk about cancer and death so much. I now understand that he heard everything I said and probably understood it also.

How to give my child the respect of being open and honest with him and yet protect him from worry and sorrow? I am not asking for advice, by the way. I am just sharing my struggle to be a good mother and a cancer patient at the same time.


Carrie said...

you are a strong mama and reading your story makes me hopeful and thankful every time i click on the bookmark. thank you so much for sharing this with those of us on the internet.

Anonymous said...

I've struggled with this too, although my disease is not cancer. Such a fine line, and I don't think there is any one right answer. It is something I wish we didn't have to think about, and that I wish our kids didn't have to know about. I want them to just be kids and maintain their innocence for as long as possible, yk?