Here We Go Again…

Family fun at Charleston Falls Park

Family fun at Charleston Falls Park

Another major medical procedure is drawing near and Miss M is totally starting to freak out.

She has become a little leach – stuck to me, attached and unwilling to let go.  I can’t go to the bathroom, leave the room, take a shower or make a phone call.  Her tantrums are out of control.  Anger.  Fear.  Sadness.  Worry.  It’s all there – in her precious little 3 year old self.

I don’t blame her one bit.  It’s hard enough processing everything as a 38 year-old with some life experience, let alone as a fresh faced pre-schooler.  This is hard on everyone.  I get it.  Cancer sucks.  And we’re all a little angry and fearful and sad and worried.

But it’s so damn hard dealing with her out of control behavior.  And not knowing what to do about it.  The other day we were stuck on the side of the road for 45 mins while she just screamed & yelled & cried and refused to get in her car seat.  And of course I can’t physically gain control in these situations because every move she makes has me immediately sheilding my chest – scared she’s gonna break my breast expander or dislodge my medi-port.  So what do i do?  I just sit there.  I sit there and listen to her scream and cry and wail and whimper and spit up all over herself.  And I wait for it to end.  I don’t know what else to do.

I realize these extreme moments mostly happen when she’s tired or hungry.  (Isn’t that always the way?)   Plus, right now we’re transitioning into the “no more naps” stage, which I’m sure isn’t helping matters.  Nor did the recent time change.

I also know she’s pissed that i’m going to New York without her on Monday.  When I told her she immediately asked if she was going too and looked heartbroken when I told her no.  How do I explain to her that it costs a lot of money to keep flying us both out?  That i don’t want her to keep missing school?  That sometimes it’s easier to go to my appointments without her?

What’s a mom to do?

I know her feelings are very close to the surface.  She’s trying to process what’s going on and what’s about to happen.  And on the flip side of things, she just started telling me over and over again, throughout the day, that she loves me.  “Mamae…  I love you.”  Over and over.  At random moments.  It’s so damn adorable.  I love her too.  So so much.

Thank god for therapy – hers AND mine.  Miss M’s therapist (also a fellow social worker) is amazing.  And Miss M feels totally comfortable talking to her about stuff.  It’s great.  Apparently Miss M spoke about her worries that I was going to die…  Her fears about the pain I might have in surgery…  And her questioning if we’re still keeping secrets from her.  The two of them are brainstorming ways Miss M can help me after surgery…   Bringing me water…  Laying down & reading books with me…  Giving me hugs & kisses…   And they talk about ways for her to vent her frustrations…  By hitting her pillow or stomping her feet.

Thank god she’s talking about this stuff with someone.

Hubby says I just need to give her extra love right now.  Which makes sense.  So I’m trying.  More focused attention.  More play time.  More hugs & cuddles.

I swear, being a parent is by far the most difficult thing I’ve had to face in this life.  (Well, ok – facing breast cancer is up there on the list too).  I remember my mom always telling me I was her biggest teacher.  I get it now.  I understand mom.

And that’s all I can do…   Try my best to understand…   And then remember often times there is no answer.  No understanding why.  It just is what it is.  Nothing more.  And you gotta just deal with it.

You can’t control the hand that you are dealt, but you can choose how to play it.  And sometimes, if you play your cards right, you can even win the game with a really shitty hand.

Peace.  -T

My silly goose!

My silly goose!

A little QT with Miss M at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark

A little QT with Miss M at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark

12 Responses

  1. Hugs. I have no idea how you do this; I’d be doing my own wailing and throwing my own tantrums. Double whammy! I’ve never had my own kids, though I’ve done nanny duty for months at a time, which I’m sure is a lot easier. Plus I was quite young, so I was sure I knew everything ;-). Marisa sounds so very bright; that’s delightful and complicating too. Thank everything good for your own mom and dad! This is all going to be worth everything. Hang in. <3

  2. Hugs and love to all three of you. Some advice from my own experience — explain everything you can to Marisa, even if you don’t think she will understand. In later years what will be important will be the act of explaining, not so much the actual explanation. It wasn’t until I was in my fifties that I finally figured out that a disturbing image I retained from early childhood was in fact my grandmother giving my grandfather an enema as part of his therapy for stomach cancer, in 1954, when I was just two and a half years old. My mother confirmed it, when I worked up the moxie to ask her — and set to rest something that had bothered me in my early years. I hadn’t known how to aask about it. Marisa is from very intelligent stock on both sides, and may very well retain early memories later on, as I did. It will help her situate them. Again, much love — and prayers for this new surgery. — John

    • Thanks John & Seth. John – Your example is perfect. And your advice makes so much sense. The act of explaining itself is what’s important. Taking the time to share and talk to her about what’s going on. Her therapist agrees. The more transparent everything is, the better off she is. We’ll figure this out eventually… Big hugs.

  3. What John said makes good sense. My parents did the same thing for me and in the long run, it helped. Your daughter is passionate, sensitive, and alive–just like her parents. And at her age, she doesn’t know how to deal rationally with all this all the time. But it sounds like you’re getting a handle on it already, by at least thinking it through and doing what you can for her. That’s more than some parents do for their kids. And a lot more than some *could* think of doing in your circumstances. Like it or not, you’re kind of extraordinary. 😉

    Hugs to you and yours.

  4. You’re doing the right things. Having hung out with your mom while she played with my three year old at a reading in Vancouver, I am not surprised. You EEZ good people! Positive thoughts from the PNW!

  5. I remember when I was first diagnosed, Chrissy was three, too. I didn’t travel for my treatment then but I do remember when I had to go places and she clung, I told her that mommy needed to go so she can feel better and be a good mommy. That seemed to help.

    • I hear ya Tami. It’s a constant battle of words for me to tell her what’s going on in a way that she’ll understand. I love the simplicity of your statement – I need to do this so I can get better and be a good mommy. Period.
      I hope the event on Saturday went well. I’m bummed I didn’t make it… Next time.
      I’m sure you guys are gearing up for your trip to Puerto Rico. Have an awesome time! xoxo

  6. Sorry I’m late to join this conversation, for some reason my computer classed your last post as spam. Silly thing! I can’t offer much in the way of first hand advice, not having kids of my own. However, I heartily second both John and Seth. If I think about my own baggage from childhood, virtually all of it can be traced back to my folks keeping secrets from us or not explaining things because they thought the conversation would worry us. Some of this came from a generational difference of “you simply do not talk about some things”. Of course they made these decisions because they truly thought they were best and thought they were doing the right thing, but in reality I really truly believe it is better to explain things. Kids are not stupid and they pick up on so much more than we think they do. The unknown is so much more massive than reality. And really, Marisa’s reality is pretty damn massive. I also humbly suggest that simply sitting there and letting her get it all out is possibly the exactly right thing to do, even if you didn’t have any physical limitations to think about.

    Much love to you, H, and Miss M. Best wishes for the next phase!

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