I believe we may have turned the corner on the scare factor, at least for the moment, as regards our daughter. She’s starting to feel comfortable enough with how I look to ask questions. And she’s starting to feel involved with my routine and my home care.
Today was Mother’s Day. Last year my daughter and I went crazy baking scones, crumpets, and I forget what all else. We had a fancy tea party out in our backyard, and had a great time, until some bees chased us back indoors. But we were so pleased with our efforts, and had such a great time, we decided then that we wanted to make the Mother-Daughter Tea our annual event. This year, I had the best of intentions, and we had similar plans. It seemed like the weather wasn’t going to cooperate, so we also planned to hold the tea party indoors. So we started on Saturday with chocolate chip cookies. We ran out of sugar, and I ran out of steam, before we could move on to the next phase, petite vanilla scones. I made spaghetti on Saturday night, I’m not kidding, my best batch yet, and after running the dishes I just couldn’t face the stuffed mushrooms I’d planned, much less those scones. So we relaxed the rest of the night. Sunday I had to do dishes again, before I could cook breakfast. That wiped me out, and I had to rest again. Once I had a little energy back, it was more dishes, and start the cinnamon buns. That was from a mix, but after getting everything ready, I was too tired to continue, and needed to rest again. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I didn’t expect to be that tired. Anyway, about lunch time, our daughter decided a Plan B was in order. Her thought was since it’s lunchtime, we would make cucumber sandwiches, cheese and crackers, set out a plate of our chocolate chip cookies, and make the tea. Turned out to be just enough of a celebration, but without undue stress on me. Floppy hats, sundresses, and a posh accent rounded out the details of this year’s event. Until she decided that the posh accent was too much work, and the floppy hats sort of got in your way, then the sun dresses and how we normally talk were sufficient for an indoor tea. So that was brilliant, and she read to me out of her Beatrix Potter book for quite a long time, while I relaxed in the recliner, sipping my tea.
Later that evening, we were talking in the kitchen, and she was looking at the scabs formed over my incision sites, from when I’d had my port placement procedure. Usually she doesn’t want to see any scar, scab, or other evidence of my cancer. But we were hugging, and she wanted to be careful of how she hugged me, since I’d bumped the port itself the day before when she gave me a hug. She looked carefully at the scabs, and asked me about them. Not in a fearful way, but in a curious way – she wanted to know if they were looking as they should, or had I caught them on something. That was the first time I thought – she is maybe getting through that fear she’s been struggling with since we started this little game. And she’d been mostly struggling in silence. We could see she was worried, but she never seemed comfortable asking a question. It occurs to me only now that maybe the fact that she feels she has some control and something to contribute towards helping her mom that has made the difference. She’d seen me doing some of my physical therapy stretches, and was helping me with the counting. Then she had the idea that she would help mom keep faith with her physical therapy by setting up a “training” schedule to include the exercises I’ve been prescribed to do, as well as some she wants to think up on her own. I thanked her for agreeing to help me, and she seemed quite happy to be involved. It makes sense. No one likes to sit by doing nothing when a loved one is sick. It stresses Ken out, I frets my sister, so of course it’s completely awful for a little girl who’s only outlet is to worry about her mother and to ask everyone she knows to pray. Now she is actively helping, and that seems to give her a happiness and a peacefulness I haven’t seen in her since we began this process.
Now she can see that her mom will be getting better, and she knows that she helped that healing process in a meaningful way. Which is all she ever really wanted.