Funny thing while I’ve been counting down the days until my exchange surgery (June 23rd), the little people in my family have been counting down until the last day of school. Both share the same nervous anticipation and dreaded excitement.
But what’s interesting to me is how in the last 48 hours since school officially ended, and they each advanced one grade level (6th graders and a 4th grader – how did THIS happen?), they’ve suddenly grown, well, older too. Exhibit A: C&Z went to their first boy-girl pool party two days ago. As you’d expect, the intel I get from the guys is very minimal. Despite how hard I try to give off the Cool Mom vibe – not being afraid to talk about touchy subjects, letting them pick the music in the car, and singing to said music in the car – I end up giving off the Dorky Mom.
“Mom,” they say in unison, “You’re so…(what I’m thinking cool? awesome? totes rad?) weird.” Followed by ubiquitous eye roll expressing utter digest and embarrassment.
Miss J asked for a training bra. My 9 year old daughter who shows no signs of needing one. I told her that she didn’t need one and could we table the subject until the end of summer and that I didn’t wear a bra regularly until 7th grade. “Mommy,” she explains to me like one talks to a small child, “Everybody’s bodies grow differently. Just because you didn’t wear a bra until 7th grade doesn’t mean that I won’t wear a bra until 7th grade.” (She was thisclose to following this up with a “Duh” for added emphasis.)
All of this talk of development, and growing up has me thinking a lot about time and how we perceive it. In many ways, it’s easy to say when going through something unpleasant – I wish time would go quickly. And for other things – a family trip, childhood, – I wish time went more slowly. At any rate, I’m incredibly grateful that I get to experience these moments (moody tweens, heartfelt talks, greater independence) in the first place. I know my CJ has been less challenging than others. That fact has never been lost on me. When I look back and think of the years 2013, and the last 8 months, (almost a school year in child terms) my CJ has dominated my memories and taken up so much of my mental and emotional bandwidth. But here’s where it gets interesting – in those same 8 months, their mom having breast cancer didn’t nearly take center stage for the little people in my family as it did for me. If you were to ask them about what are their strongest (best and worst, naturally) memories from this time, they’d mention a myriad of activities and adventures starting with sports, plays, performances, trips, and personal milestones. I didn’t want their definition of this time to be marked the same way it is marked for me. And for that, I am thankful.
I ran into a friend when I was hiking with another friend last week. We chatted for a bit and she inquired about my health and I told her how I was doing, and I inquired about her separation and asked how she was doing. She said, “It’s okay to ask me about it. I’m happy to talk about it.” And for a moment, our experiences were the same. We’d both been faced with something difficult and painful but were both nearing the other side of it.
“I know,” I agreed. “People say ‘It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it,’ and I’m always thinking this is one of the biggest things that has ever happened to me and of course I want to talk about it.”
I know that’s not everyone’s motto and I respect those who want to keep personal details, well, personal. But that’s not been me. And so I will continue to share my CJ as it unfolds.
Monday is the big day. I report to CPMC at 8:30 am.