Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Run/ Walk/ Bike/ Elliptical (Today: 4.00 miles; Running Total: 149.85 miles)
Day 193 of *Another* 100 Days of Good Karma.
Hannah carried a book into the living room where I sat on the couch reading my own book.
“Mommy, can I read this? I want to learn about my hair care.”
She held up the book for me to see. It was a copy of The Care and Keeping of You. This book is meant to give girls seven and older, girls Hannah’s age, a preview of what puberty and ‘growing up’ is all about. The way she said ‘my hair care’ I could tell it was a chapter title in the book.
“Sure, go ahead,” I said, shrugging.
I wasn’t worried about what she’d find in there. We’ve already talked about most of what appears in the book. All the uncomfortable parts anyway. I skipped over some of it, like the parts covering getting braces or glasses, figuring we could talk about those if they came up.
Hannah settled onto the couch and opened the book. “I want to find out why I keep losing my hair.”
I looked up from my book again, hearing a red flag flapping in the wind.
“Baby, everyone loses their hair sometimes.”
“I know.” She rolled her eyes (dear God isn’t she still too young for that?!). “It’s a girl-thing.”
“No,” I said, shaking my head. “Boys and girls both lose a little hair sometimes. It’s part of being human.”
“Ok,” she said and ducked back behind the book.
I paused, trying to think what to say next. I knew what she was worried about, but I didn’t know just the right way to address it.
Finally, I said, “Hannah, you can read the book but this,” I pointed to my own head, “this isn’t gonna to happen to you. This is because of the medicine.”
Hannah looked at me over the top of the book and said, “I know. But what if I get cancer later in my life?”
I just blinked. I was utterly speechless. I mean, really, what do you say to that?
She was watching me, waiting for a response. And I didn’t have one. Not a single one. After a long moment I said, “Go ahead. Read the book.”
“Ok,” she said, happy with that answer.
Except what kind of answer is that?
I mean, really, what are you supposed to say when your eight year old child is already worried, in fact preparing herself, to get cancer later in life?
I’m the start of my own family history of cancer, and as much as I want to say to her no this will never happen to you, I can’t. I don’t get a vote in the matter, and I can’t protect either of my children from ever going through this.
I know it’s useless and stupid to feel guilt over the risk my children run of having cancer someday, but the guilt is there anyway.
Today’s silver lining: At least they’ll know. At least they’ll have a heads up and can be more cautious when it comes to their health care.
But still… It’s a sharp pill to swallow.
What’s your silver lining today? I love comments!
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