Oh Monday why can’t you be Sunday! I would love to rewind a few days sometimes to forget and erase days off the charts completely, but sometimes to re-live in that moment again, like this little story I’m going to tell you today!
I’m sitting here as my mother is undergoing another round of chemotherapy for the third time, and even though she is feeling better and has gone back to work for the past 3 days, the uneasy feeling still floats in the back of my mind. When she isn’t talking to me, I find myself gazing at her bald head and thinking – “wow, I can’t believe my mother has cancer, I can’t believe this is our life now and we are going through this,” I think it will always weight so tight on my heart but what hurts me the most is hearing my son talk about cancer.
I’m going to share with you the words and conversations we have spoken through a child. There have been times where I have caught him crying and there have been times where he has caught me crying. In fact, those have been the worst times for me, for him to see me cry in a moment of weakness but it happens. You see Cameron has always been brave, even when he didn’t know he was going through the bravest times of his life, he was still brave.
Cameron was premature, very early at a whopping 2pds and 10oz early. While in the NICU two weeks later, he was diagnosed with Hydrocephalus and in Cameron’s case he had a problem with circulating the fluids which then built up and caused pressure in his head to start swelling. We were seen with the neurosurgeon right away. After finding out Cameron needed a shunt to drain off the fluids I was left with these exact feelings that I’m dealing with now, because once a shunt is placed it reminds permanent with a child’s life forever.
I try to have a positive attitude with whatever I’m faced with (except that one time when someone told my mother she had a year to live) and knowing that I wasn’t about to throw my child to the wolves, I was ready to take care of this baby, I was ready to bare all responsibilities as a mother should. Unfortunately not everyone deals with trauma the same way, due to the rage of fear at the time my husband shut down and was dealing with it in his own way, so that is when my mother stepped in and was by my side every second. The very first surgery Cameron had, the doctors allowed me to see him before being wheeled into the operating table.
I’ll never forget that moment with my mother. I’ll never forget having her beside me and hearing her words of comfort while looking down at my baby in a sea of countless number of tubs around him. “Look at him Kacie; look at his little eyes looking at you. He is telling you, Mommy, it’s going to be ok”. As she placed my hand on my back and tears came down my face.
Fear is useless, what is needed is trust. Mark 5:36
Once Cameron was out of the hospital and at home, I knew I couldn’t do it without my mother. So there I was in all of God’s glory, allowing my mom to quit her job and stay at home with Cameron for the first year of his life. I was so scared and knowing I had a huge responsibility with not only a new born baby but a baby who needed extra special care. I use to hate when people would say: “God gives babies to special people”. Really? I didn’t view myself special nor did I want my baby to be “special”. I don’t think that is something anyone with a child of special needs wants to hear. (So the word of the wise before speaking to someone you know who is facing hard times).
I would call every day while I was at work, spend every lunch hour with them, and counted down the hours till five so I could be with them. My mom would begin to tell me about how their day went. She would tell me their journey to the mail box and back, or how he would get so excited and start kicking his little legs sitting in his high chair, when he heard the famous Backyardigans theme song come on. I also remember how my mom would cater to his every snack time with a tiny little bottle filled with Kool-Aid and crushed ice to the rim. Times where she would work with him every day on a medicine ball to help his motor skills and flexibility during the monthly ‘Kid Team’ check-ins. Cameron and my mom developed the best friend relationship you could ever imagine within the first year of his life.
Fast Forward (9) years later and the question I heard in a quite living room one afternoon …
“Nanny are you going to die?”
Did I just hear myself correctly? Walking into the living room I seen my little mail lady with her bald head kneel down to her grandson and say: “Nanny not going to die today but one day we are all going to die and when that time comes for nanny to see Jesus, I’m going to tell him, ok I want this seat for paw paw, I want this seat for mommy and I want this seat for Cameron”.
Cameron does it bother you when Nanny takes off her wig? … His little head just nodded, but then he put on his little brave face and said this to her:
“But Nanny, it’s ok if you don’t have any hair, it’s just hair and it will grow back. You’re still my nanny”.
How do you talk to a child about cancer? Well, I’m going to tell you. It’s not the most enjoyable conversation to have with your child as you could imagine. Having to break down and tell your child that one of his first loves is really sick. You have to take it in strides. For me, it’s not really a lot of talking at times, it’s bringing him to see her and still making memories. Yes, at times I have broken down in front of him but HE is the one that is brave for me, he makes me strong. HIS words are keeping me afloat. Sometimes it’s not about explaining things to a child. They already know and sometimes they deal with things a little bit better than we do as adults, I know what it’s like to be a child of God. This is exactly how God wants us to be. The innocents of a child.
This past weekend as we were watching Charlie Brown and the great pumpkin, I had a weak moment and he seen tears coming down. He puts his little hand over my hand and says: I know Nanny is your battle but my battle, is Nanny and you.
I knew what he meant and just like when my mom and I were looking down at him with countless numbers of tubs that is exactly what he was telling me without words, now he has the ability to say “Mommy, it’s going to be ok”.