Wednesday, February 16, 2011

honestly honesty sucks sometimes

When I was going through the trials of treatment Katarina had not yet started Kindergarten and Sebastian hadn't even turned 3 yet! Even though they were young, I felt it was important to be honest with the kids. They might not understand the full implications of the surgery, drugs, and radiation, but I wanted them to know why I was gone every few weeks, why I couldn't take them to school and why they couldn't jump on me after surgery. Of course we also told them that doctors were working very hard to make me better and that all the bad treatment was just to get rid of the cancer.  Katarina's pre-K teacher commented one afternoon that she was really surprised at how well Katarina was handling things. She was apparently very matter-of-fact about telling people "my mom has cancer, but she's going to be fine". At the time it was comforting to know she had confidence that this was just a bump in the road. I was quite relieved that she wasn't freaking out or scarred. But there were times that I just didn't want to face the conversations. She asked about death and we talked a lot about the fact that I couldn't have more kids. Even through we had discussed it, she repeatedly asked for a baby brother or sister and we had to re-hash why that wasn't going to happen.  Those conversations were emotional enough, but I think I underestimated how much of an effect this has had on her. Fast forward a few months and she entered Kindergarten. A whole new world. It seems in Kindergarten there are all sorts of grand plans about who's marrying who when they grow up. Katarina told me the other day that she was going to marry a particular boy. I happened to know that he had been talking about marrying another little girl, so I asked about that. Katarina's reply was that perhaps he should marry both girls in case one of them can't have babies. In that moment I wanted to take back all the honest conversations we'd had about cancer and that it derailed the possibility of having more kids. I didn't want my little girl to carry that burden. Fortunately I think she just sees it as a logical solution to a problem I hope she never has to deal with.

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