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Growing Up

There is a girl at Vibowin's school that has Leukemia. The girl's brother is in Vicbowin's class.

Cancer has become a major topic of conversation in our home and not for the first time in my parenting career, I've begun to wish that I could protect my children from the darker side of life.

I don't know if it's just my girl or if all kids go through the same thing, but Vicbowin and I have had more discussions about serious topics than I feel is entirely necessary for her age.

War. Divorce. Death. Cannibalism. Abortion. Theft. Sex. Abuse. Cancer.

At some point or another in her life she's had something arise that caused her to question each and every one of those topics. Some of the hardest things I've had to explain have come from questions or statements like:

"What kind's of animals do people eat? What kinds of people do people eat?" (2 1/2 years old)

"What's war and why does Daddy have to go there?" (3 years old)

"If you and Daddy both died who would take care of us?" (3 years old)

"Why does my aunt not want to live with my uncle anymore? Doesn't she love him?" (4 years old)

"Why would someone take Daddy's motorcycle?" (4 1/2 years old)

"My friends mommy wasn't nice to her so her Aunt is her mommy now. What's adoption mean?" (5 years old)

"Will I get to see Grandpa again?" (5 1/2 years old)

"Mom, what's sex? For reals this time." (7 years old)

"What is abortion exactly?" (8 years old)

"It's a good thing slavery doesn't exist anymore." (9 years old) --I chose not to correct her on this one.--

"What's Leukemia?" (9 years old)

"Why is her hair going to fall out?" (9 years old)

"What's the worst cancer in the world?" (9 years old) --I really didn't want to answer this one--

I hate being the one who has to slowly break down the innocence that my children live in. I hate being the one who has to explain such things to them. Yet, at the same time, I wouldn't want anyone else explaining it to them. What a devastating a responsibility we have as parents.

Today Vicbowin took all of the spare change she could find in the house to the school to help the little girl. Then, in her morning prayers, my darling asked Heavenly Father to let her friends sister survive Leukemia.

I'm not sure if I felt more pride in her words or sorrow that she understood their significance.

I don't remember growing up being this painful...I hope she doesn't either.

Comments

Anonymous said…
I guess I feel differently about this.

While I know these things are not happy and they don't make you feel good, it's part of growing up and
I want them to see other perspectives so they realize the value of those small important things like food, clothes, health, a famlily that loves and takes care of you. Which of course is the same reason that you and I and most other parents explain these sad things.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I want to be able to go through all of it with them when I can still be close and tell them that some things don't have to be this way, there are better ways. I want to be there so they don't have to learn these things on their own. I can be there to hold their hands, hug them and dry the tears.

I don't mean to sound like I look forward to these things but I don't hate it because I want to be a mom that they are comfortable talking to. I feel good when they are sad, worried, scared or curious and they value my opinion.
Lisa said…
You know, at least she wants her info from you and not some stranger or another kid. I hope my kids ask questions like that. But it will definitely break my heart to hear it.

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What do you think?

Mutterings of a Middle-Aged Dreamer

Use your words, my dear sweet soul, they are inside of you... So find them. Write, you silly girl, write so hard the world will never forget you.
But does it matter if the world remembers you? 
Age begins to press its hands upon your chest and the need to be remembered seems to increase with the pressure. 
Stop.
That's not a line of thought you're interested in pursuing. 
Live in the now.
Does it matter if the world remembers you if your neighbor is going hungry? 
Perhaps age is merely pushing you out the door. 
Go. Live in the now.