Miss J’s has always made her career aspirations abundantly clear. She’s going to be a pop star and a mom.
What she may lack in sheer musical skill and daily hygiene habits (I’m always telling her that pop stars brush their hair and teeth regularly!), she more than makes up for in grit, determination, and interest. In terms of her other career choice, she’s already started laying the groundwork for what it means to be a mom.
“I feel really sorry for you,” she offers as she climbs into the car when I pick her up from school. “You do a lot of work all day, and there’s a lot to do to take care of us.”
After I explain to her that all of the “work” I do – from administrivia and errands, to kitchen and laundry duty, carpools and homework patrol – I’m happy to do because it’s my job to take care of them, she pauses for a moment.
“I’m here if you ever want help with any of it. Just let me know.”
Now, before you think that I’m either …
b) raising the Most Helpful Child on the Planet
…consider that this is the same 9-year-old girl who rolls her eyes at me when I remind her to brush her hair, put her clothes away, or take the Intern on a walk on her scheduled day. So take this uber sweet offer to help with a grain of salt.
I think what it comes down to is this: she has digested my breast cancer in her own way and wants to understand it better. She’s seen me tired, sad, and fragile over the last 5 months and genuinely wants to “help” in any way she can. She’s done this by researching online by herself Breast Cancer. She organized a wear pink day last fall for her class, and she wants to do the Avon Breast Cancer walk this summer.
Again, this is the girl who isn’t fond of hikes, let alone walks, and “retired” from girls’ softball because it was “too much running.” So her desire to participate in the Walk is especially poignant (not to mention ambitious.) The good news about where I am right now in my CJ, is that I’m nearly back to doing the things I used to do. So I’m no longer in bed, or in the Hospital, or recovering from surgery which means that Miss J sees me just the way she’s always seen me: as her mom.
The guys have been taking it all in stride. I think they knew the significance of my breast cancer diagnosis last fall way more than their younger sister did and it was an emotional time for them then. But, enter basketball, fantasy football, baseball, March Madness brackets, friends, and school, and at 11, their lives have focused less on my health or how I’m feeling. I don’t for one minute take their busy schedules as a lack of interest. They show little moments of understanding when we cuddle on the couch, or when I “tuck them in” at night.
When the guys’ school commenced Spirit Week last week – a week of dressing up in various themes to support specific messages, it should be no surprise to anyone that they were hardly motivated by “Man Sweater Monday” (I kid you not) or “Twin Tuesday.” But when Wednesday rolled around and called for wearing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness (hello, in March?), they both jumped at the chance and scoured the house for acceptable pink to wear. Luckily, they still had their bright pink socks the entire team wore for soccer last October (shout out to RW and JB for getting the Honey Badgers team their pink socks – super sweet!) and happily wore those hot pink socks to school. I guess you could say I was tickled…pink.
So hopefully this answers the question: How are the kids doing? I know I have 1-2 more surgeries ahead of me (reconstruction) and hopefully my recovery will go faster and smoother than before. And we will continue to communicate honestly and openly to the kids in the meantime.