Sometimes it’s the big bombs that kids drop very haphazardly, infused with candor and innocence followed immediately with a fart joke or fart noise which obviously sets off a stream of belly laughs. I suppose my kids might get that part from us, recalling a certain conversation late Saturday night about body part slangs that had myself in uncontrollable giggles.
But there’s something about a kids resiliency that has sparked todays post. It’s been a long time since I felt I had something to say. I didn’t want to sound all Debbie Downer all the time so I’ve taken a bit of a self imposed hiatus, but I think it’s OK to talk about this now.
THE BACK STORY
For … shit, 2 years? 3? Both my ‘rents have been battling the big ‘C’, Dad is in a semi remission, I guess, with residual chemo to keep the animal at bay, but it will never be cured. Mom had an operation after radiation, last April, which eradicated her nasal tumour. But with the awesomeness of this disease if gives 2 fucks about whether you’ve had enough. This spring, things changed with an extremely aggressive mass in her nose and throat which had grown back with such force and speed that, if left untreated, provided a 3 month timeline.
She is attempting chemo now, which is a painstaking battle, but we will encourage and hope that it will manage the beast and give us more time. It’s this whole ‘time’ thing which is the kicker. Time is a funny thing for me right now. When people ask about my summer and what ‘fun’ things I have planned with the kids, what day camps I’m doing, what holidays I’ve planned, I reply with ‘weellllll, it’s May 30th today and that’s as far as I can manage, so nope, I got nothin’.
I don’t even want to plan anything, in fact, I find it hard to even think about planning something without feeling massive exhaustion. At this point you are thinking: but how does this jump back to the kids? I’m getting there, I promise :)
So jumping back to this morning, I mentioned to the kidlets that I wasn’t feeling 100% and if that is the case then we have to delay the trek to yonder Ottawa to visit Nana in a few days. Wren is too little, but it’s Finn, that I look to for explanations. I know he is listening even when he’s fused to the TV. He’s zoned into minecraft but tandemly aware of the shift in our family dynamic.
The mini breakdowns and hushed conversations with Troy in the kitchen. The extra long hugs and puffy eyes that you try to hide with sunglasses. He’s only 7, but he’s watching me very closely. I battled with telling him anything, but in the end, he is already watching and the confusion was evident.
He began acting out, stomping, yelling, melting down, spewing self deprecating statements (‘I AM A BLACK HOLE!! was one of my favourites which I tried really hard not to laugh at), hitting his sister … VERY unlike Finn. I sat him down one day to explain in a high level way what was happening, and he cried. He cried in a doubled over, wailing type way which lasted about 5 minutes. We hugged it out and within 10 more minutes he was watching TV with a large weight off his shoulders. He just released, told me his fears, and yup, he was up and back at life.
So this morning when I mentioned we might have to delay the trip, Finn’s response was very matter of fact. It was ‘yup cause Nana has cancer and we can’t catch that but she can get sick from us. So hopefully you feel better mom and then we will go!’ and then he’s back to the animal alphabet game.
This has been a big lesson for me as an adult, as we brave face it up, hold it together for the sake of not making others uncomfortable. That’s just not me, and I think most of you know that by now. I’m a talker … I know, big shock with my reclusive nature, extreme dislike of crowds and people in general, but when I am with friends and family, I like to get it all out. Talking about things is the way I deal best, so never be afraid to ask me anything about my parents health.
But as I watch my kids, and their open expressions, and simple explanations to serious subjects, I am taking a lesson from them. They wear their hearts on their sleeves, they play each one of their cards, and then dust themselves off and move forward … and then try to make a fart sound from their arm pits … I mean, that’s ALWAYS funny. Regardless they accept and move on with their life.
As adults, we stress over a mountain of expectation. Scoring a great job, making buckets of cash, being super mom (or dad) all while looking good, keeping fit, having a nice house and hosting amazing parties. It’s fucking exhausting.
We fear death and the unknown. We like to control things, ‘handle’ things. We don’t like to show weakness, appear like we don’t have our shit together, and what I have learned many times over in the last few years from my own as well as my friends’ experiences with pain and loss, is that WE DON’T CONTROL A DAMN THING. Life is not in our hands, not really, it never has been and it never will be. You might think you have a good thing going and then boom, there goes that rug from under your feet.
Our fate is sealed in some other envelope that we will never see, and we can only control how we react to our stresses. Kids don’t think like us yet, thank god, they hear something shitty, they cry, they accept it, they might dwell a little, but then they up and run around a sprinkler in their underwear because that is all you can do.
I just re- read this post and I’m thinking – does this make me sound like a hippy dippy douche? I hope not. I’m not saying you have to be all serene and calm about your stress, but wouldn’t it be a better idea to be real about your feelings, don’t pretend you DIY all the things you post on pinterest, or that you family is a god damned miracle on facebook. No one believes you. No one even likes you when you do that.
I mean the bottom line in is this: you get some shit news, a crappy shitty fucky hand, you cry about it, talk about it, hug it out and then you have a hot dog and ice cream and say fuck, who’s gonna tell me a dirty joke and make me laugh?
I thought I’d include some snaps of my fav kids being goofy doing what they do best.
Let’s just lay in the freezing snow – it’s always a good time!
So Wren likes to shove animals in her pants. Yup, there’s that.
The king of expressions.
My mom’s 70th birthday moustache breakfast … and yes Troy’s is fake.
What could be more amazing then orange pants for communion? NOTHING.
Mom and Wren at her mother’s day tea at school. Nana is the shit according to my kids. She can do no wrong :) xoxo to you mum.