Many of us moms experience highs and lows of parenting. The highs: smiles, adorable phrases, warm sense of pride in developing new skills and new friendships. The lows: tantrums, homework, "normal" or "special" behavior/development issues, sleep-deprivation. For the most part, we encounter similar challenges and find familiar voices among friends and neighbors.
But some challenges are different. Being told "your child has cancer" is different.
Usually I blog about the "normal" challenges that we all face. Today, I share a different voice.
You see: today, my son heads to Boston for his 7th intervention to rid him of aggressive, horrible tumors that would have killed him if we hadn't found them in time 2+ years ago. Today, I said goodbye to him, despite his tearful plea not to go, because he knows what awaits: needles, foreign rooms, pain.
And today I so badly BADLY wanted to keep him safe at home.
Most of you don't know that feeling. Most of you are lucky not to give your child over to doctors who promise to do their best, while your child cries from fear.
When he is headed for the hospital, I always have the same feeling: I want to grab him and run away. I want to keep him safe. Desperately. Oh, so desperately wanting to keep him as far from the hospital as possible. But where to? Where can I take him to be safe from these tumors? There is nowhere to go. It is the ultimate feeling of defeat.
"He has cancer." "Are you sure? Could it be something else?" "No. We are sure."
Most of you don't know what it's like to awaken in the morning to the piercing reality that your baby, your joy, may not live through the next month or season. I cannot possibly express in words this worst-feeling-ever. The pit in my stomach. The rage in my mind. The weighty feeling throughout my body - like it will take a crane to pull me out of bed.
I have imagined his funeral so many times in my head. I have imagined how I will break the news to his siblings, and how we will get by with his memory.
"Think positive - things will work out!" "God is good - you are only given what you can handle in life." People who have never felt this worst-feeling-ever have no idea how empty these things sound to me. There is no "think positive" when you wake up in horror of what will be. And as for getting what I can handle? I'm not so sure I'm handling it, and I'm pretty sure this is why divorce rates are high among parents of children with cancer. No - some of us just can't handle it. Our other children suffer. Our marriages suffer. We are barely functional as a friend or employee.
And even now that things are better - now that he's not fighting for his life like before... the reality is that we have been through hell and are not back yet. We still have to go to the hospitals and scans. We still are never sure if the tumor will suddenly appear by his heart or lungs or spine or other "vital structure"... we still want to grab him and run away.
It's the most horrible feeling.
Most of my blogs are about universal truths or ideas about Mommying. In contrast with the others, I hope this one sounds completely foreign to my readers.