• 100 Days of Good Karma: Day 31 (Talking to the Kids)

    lookingdown

    Monday, August 11, 2014

    Day 31 of 100 Days of Good Karma.

    Justin and I talked to the kids about my having cancer.

    We all sat together around the computer and I put in a DVD from the doctor’s office.

    I was running the mouse, ready to pause the show if they had questions.  I’d already watched the video by myself a few times.  I wanted to be as prepared as humanly possible.

    If there was a time where it was crucial for me to not cry, it was during this conversation.

    The DVD was about twenty minutes long, and puts cancer in the terms of a child.  I even learned a few things after watching it.

    Like the fact that chemotherapy is not a smart drug.  It only knows to target ‘fast growing’ cells.

    Cancer is a fast growing cell, but unfortunately, so are the cells that

    • line the inside of your mouth
    • make your hair grow
    • make your immune system function
    • make your skin scab over.

    Chemotherapy only knows to check if the cell is fast growing.  If it is, as the video told the kids, chemotherapy ‘knocks it down’.

    Basically chemotherapy is your typical schoolyard bully that medical science threw a harness over and put to plow.

    The video isn’t scary, but it is serious, and sometimes serious is scary to kids.

    Connor didn’t want to watch the video.  He buried himself behind a pile of couch pillows and threw a blanket over the top.

    He’s five and I’m thirty four, but I certainly understood the reaction.  There have been many times in the last month that I’ve wanted to hide from the messy emotional side of cancer.

    When Justin told him, “Connor, you need to watch this,” he would only peek out from a slit between two pillows.

    Hannah got off the couch and came to sit by me at the computer.  She wrapped her arms around me and sat watching the video with big eyes.

    Justin and I paused the video in a couple of places to see if the kids had questions.

    Hannah had a ton.  I expected that.  She’s my question-asker.

    She was very worried about me losing my hair.

    “But you’ll look like a boy!”

    I told her, “That’s okay.  I’d rather lose my hair than keep cancer.  Besides, my hair will grow back.”

    Justin asked, “Connor do you have any questions?”

    Connor popped his head out from the pillow pile, his lower lip stuck out.

    “Do you have a question, Connor?” I asked.

    “I love you,” he said, then ducked back beneath the pillows.

    After the video ended, I showed the kids my pink wig.  They loved it.  Hannah put the wig on and paraded around the house.

    I told them they could get wigs, too, and the idea of playing dress up made cancer a little less scary.

    Fun even.

    Hannah was torn between getting a red wig and a rainbow wig.

    Connor decided immediately on a Mohawk wig.

    “But not a pink one, Mommy,”  he said.  “Pink is for girls.”

    I smiled and told him he could get whatever color Mohawk he wanted.

    Later, Hannah came to me with a handmade card that read ‘Simply the best mom’.

    She handed it to me and said, “I want to say something but I don’t know how.”

    “Go ahead, baby.  Just say it.”

    She thought a moment.  I could see her sorting through all the words in her eight year old mind.

    Finally, she said, “It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside.  It’s what’s inside that counts.”

    Silver Lining:  That, my friends, is what you call a Parenting Win.

    I didn’t cry when we talked to the kids.

    I cried later where they couldn’t see me.  Justin just held me and wiped my tears.

    But I feel better now that they know.

    Before it felt like cancer was a dirty secret Justin and I were keeping from them.  We wanted to have all the puzzle pieces before we talked to them, but even once we had all the pieces we still delayed.

    Let’s face it, no one wants to talk to their kids about cancer.

    I’m glad we did, though.

    Bonus Silver Lining:  I didn’t have to fight with them over doing chores. 

    They pranced about happy to help me clean up the house.

    We’ll see how long that lasts.

    I give it less than a week.

    What’s your silver lining today?  I love comments!

    xoxo,
    Meghan

    Post Tagged with

18 Responsesso far.

  1. Patrick Moore says:

    Meghan,

    Our friend Tamela told me the sad news last week. I have been reading your blog trying to catch up with whats been going on since she told me. I enjoy your story telling. Why do bad things have to happen to good people? While I was reading the blog yesterday I was wondering if you had told you children. I am man enough to admit that it brought tears to my eyes. I know it could not have been easy and I don’t think that I could maintain my composure. Silver Lining-Our children. My daughter can always put a smile on my face. You and your family will be in my prayers.

    • Meghan says:

      Thank you for reading, Pat, and thank you for your prayers. It wasn’t an easy conversation, that’s for sure, but I knew if I cried I’d only scare them more. They are my silver lining every day, even when they make me want to pull my hair out. 🙂

  2. Leslee says:

    That had to be the hardest thing you and Justin ever did! Y’all are such good and loving parents! I’m glad it’s all out in the open! Now time to concentrate on getting better! ❤️

  3. You may of waited to cry later but I cried just reading it. I think it a great thing you did telling the kids, I know that was hard. You and Justin are wonderful parents and have incredible kids.

  4. pwsquare says:

    will wear my lime green and black wig the next time I come over. Your pink one should be tame by compassion. Love ya. 🙂 I

  5. Tammy Fowler says:

    Oh, Meghan. This is the first one of your posts that has made me cry…at least, a little bit! I should be careful about reading these at work. What wonderful kids you have! And a pretty great husband too. These are silver linings for sure.

  6. Michale Bauer says:

    Well done Meghan and Justine! I was wondering if your kids knew, but didn’t want to ask. Sounds like it was the right time for everyone to talk and learn. Now you have a united front. I suspect the kids will slack off a little on doing their chores, but that’s to be expected.

    My Monday Silver Lining: Found a recording of me reading “Do you know your colors” to my young son. Growing up Ian loved listening to storybook cassettes … I did too. Here’s this sweet little voice questioning why the olive jeep doesn’t have doors. I’m thinking he was about 2 year old … so precious!

  7. Annette says:

    I was sharing your blog with Michele and I had to stop to compose myself before I could continue to read this posting. You are a wonderful wife, mother, daughter, niece and cousin! Xoxox

    • Meghan says:

      Well, I know what your sister would say about you crying, but I don’t mind. Cry away, and thank you for reading. 😉

  8. Mom says:

    You, Justin and the kids are still my silver lining. Wondering when you were going to tell them. Didn’t want you to wait til your hair fell out. I’d love to see the tape. I just don’t know if I could do it in front of you. And, yes, baby girl,you made me cry but Dad and I are very very proud of you. Remember, if anyone could read this and not feel that you are the woman of the world doesn’t know good in the world at all! Love you, Mom

  9. Monica says:

    I don’t know how you held it together while telling the kids, because I cried just reading your post! I’m gonna have to start reading them at home instead of work!
    Hang in there!

Leave a Reply