Everytime I say or mention that I have cancer, Riley or Molly correct me and say, "You don't have cancer, you have breast cancer!" To them it sounds less scary to have breast cancer than cancer. To me too. They probably feel this way because I explained to them that I can live without breasts, but cannot live without lungs, liver, a colon, etc. They know that breast cancer has a very high survival rate.
Recently we were at out local bookstore making Easter crafts/decorations for their window display. Three 5th grade girls came in and joined us. I know the girls because I substitute taught them at our local elementary school. (Substitute teaching is the most underpaid and underappreciated job - except of course for the more difficult ,underpaid and underappreciated job of a stay-home mother/father.) The girls commented on my pink ribbon earrings that Riley and Molly recently gave me for my birthday. One of the girls said that her aunt had breast cancer and is doing fine. I said that I did too, but it was nothing to worry about. Immediately, both Riley and Molly chimed in, "She's not going to die."
I feel their fear.
Clearly and natuarlly there is a level of fear that both Riley and Molly feel about the cancer, oops, breast cancer. They are acting so brave, but I can tell that their emotions are sitting a little closer to the surface. It must be difficult for them to worry about their mother all the time. I know I would feel the same way about my mom, and I'm an old lady that supposedly has coping skills. It would be scary to be 14-almost 15, and 9, and have a mom walking around with breast cancer. Last week while I was cleaning the house, I had "what if" thoughts that brought about non-stop tears. The tears were for Riley and Molly, not for me. I constantly worry about their worries - and that's a whole pile of worries. Maybe I should stop cleaning the house and then I won't have "what if" thoughts!
I feel their pain.
On top of anxiety of a "sick" mom, Riley has to deal with high school "friends." Last Friday a good friend in her large group of friends had a very fun party. About 20 kids met at the local sports field and broke up into teams for a scavenger hunt. They ran all over town - aka village -looking for clues. If you were downtown, you couldn't miss them. (Manchester is a tiny town of about 5,000 people where you can walk everywhere - town, school, beach, harbor, sports fields, etc.) There appeared to be only one girl from their group not invited - Riley. There is no logical reason for this exclusion, other than a girl that has bullied her for three years- both physically and emotionally - could have masterminded this hurtful situation. She was hurt beyond measure, absolutely crushed, and she said that she felt numb and "completely empty inside." Nothing sucks worse than mean and inconsiderate teenagers picking on the people least likely to fight back - the nice ones, especially when it is your child. (I guess it makes sense that they wouldn't pick on the tough ones. Bullies are cowards.) (Yes, I reported the bullying to the school this year, but they will not do anything until Riley puts in in writing - and I can't get her to do it.)
Things could be worse.
Do you ever say, "Things could be worse, I could..."? In the past I said, "Things could be worse, I could have cancer." which is the same as, "Things could be worse, my girls could be hurt by friends." Now I say, "Things could be worse, Justin could be fighting in Afghanistan," I know that he is way too old for the military - so this is safe.
Whacky thought for the day...
"Doing nothing is the most tiring of all, you can never stop to rest." - Harry's Donuts, Merced, CA