Saturday, September 26, 2009

What Do I Say To These Kids?

That was quite a pickle. I battled with "do I or don't I". Seemed like a million people said I was doing them a disservice if I didn't, while my parents told me it was ridiculous to share it with them. Growing up in my family, you just didn't talk about stuff. For example, my mom had 6 breast lumps removed over the course of as many years. I think I knew about 1 of them before the actual surgery. You don't tell your kids about things that will worry them...that's what I grew up on. But then I received that month's installment of the NMSS magazine that talked all about how you should tell your kids about ms and what to say! Ok, that's my cue!

I think my daughter was about 9 when I sat her down at the kitchen table to explain my condition. I chose her because she was oldest and, in my opinion, better able to understand without being afraid. My son was 8 and I didn't give him enough credit, plain and simple. So I sat down across from her and proceeded to give my best performance...explaining the condition in an age appropriate manner, just like the magazine said. Checking to see if she had any questions, which she did not. It was so difficult to discuss something like ms as I looked into those big, beautiful eyes. All I could think of was how I idolized my parents growing up. No one was stronger and more perfect than Mom and Dad to me. I didn't need no stinkin' stuffed animals or security blankets...I had them! So like, surely my daughter couldn't think of me as a security blanket personified if I had some weird illness! I was thankful to finish the conversation and get to bed. All the worry of what to say and how it would go was a one-night cure for my insomnia. The talk went off without a hitch, ended well, and I was still in the running for Mother of The Year, 'cause I did what I was supposed to do according to that article.

The next day, we went grocery shopping. At the end of our always endless conveyor belt of items, the cashier asked if I wanted to donate $1 to the ms walk. Oh perfect, I thought! We JUST talked about this and now she'll see that ms is something lots of people have and that there are even walks for it! I proudly donated the $1 and completed my paper shoe for the wall! As we walked to the car, I mentioned to my daughter that it was pretty cool how that store was raising money for ms...right? She looked up at me with those big, beautiful eyes and said, "what's ms?" Me all shocked, gently reminded her of what we talked about the previous night? Ya know, the thing that makes Mommy really sleepy? Her all, "yeah, you get sleepy because you're tired." HA!!! Yes, sweetie...that's exactly it. Clearly, I was premature in disclosing it to her. Mom and Dad, yet again, proved to be right. Always...right.

My son, on the other hand...the one I thought wouldn't get it? He always got it, I just never realized. From the time he was old enough to open a door, he'd open it for himself and for me. He's got a knack for sensing when I'm not feeling well each and every time. It's uncanny, almost as if he has a subscription to Miss Cleo or something. At the ripe old age of 10, he will hurry to my car door to open it. When I pull in after work, he runs out to carry my things in. I've never officially told him, but I don't need to. We've been through lots of scary stuff together, my son and I. He's been in ICU, a trauma unit (twice), and 2 nationally recognized children's hospitals on more occasions than I can count. Throughout those scary visits, he was always locked onto my eyes in a sort of, "I know you're there...and I'm alright" manner. I find myself looking at him that way once in awhile. Guess this is just how we roll.

God always gives us just what we need. And sometimes, that need is fulfilled by a little boy who takes his mom by the hand and walks her to the front door after a long day's work, carrying her briefcase in his other hand.

(2 Corinthians 9:8 NIV) And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

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