Garrett, a 14-year-old nationally competitive triathlete. He obviously didn’t get his athletic genetics from us, but mostly his personal drive and independence. Cancer made our little kids grow up faster than we would have liked, but Garrett also became the kid that does one of his two independent workouts before I’m out of bed in the morning.
Addison, now 11 is either going to end up attending an Ivy league college or do a short stay in juvi. She has the wit, intelligence and sarcasm often years ahead of her classmates. She also knows how to love and love hard. She is always worried about her mama, but still knows how to be a kid. When I’m on treatment she checks on me, tucks me and brings me a drink and then goes to play with her bestie Mia. That is exactly what I want.
Ethan, obviously grandma’s favorite. I was too sick with the worst of chemo his first 9 months and my mom loved on our premie baby when I had to work on surviving. There was a time, I never thought I would see him go to kindergarten. He is going to be a 2nd grader in the fall. I know it sounds strange, but I LOVE when he runs into school without even looking back. We love on him and spoil him, and he is a miracle of health, but he knows how to be independent too.
Eric and I are not against bribery just not with promises against cancer. Luna was purchased as an off chemo “present” to the kids and Nova as a bribe for allergy shots for Garrett in the doctor’s parking lot. We were adamant about one thing; we never promised anything we couldn’t be sure we could follow through with. We and a whole group of experienced medical professionals were working hard to beat cancer, never that we would. We had friends that became family and when the kids were little, they associated the conversation that mom had a new tumor with extended sleep overs. We once dropped off the kids at our friend’s house for a two-night emergent hospital stay and they ended up staying for 2 ½ weeks. They still talk about that time as though it was a vacation
Finally, and most importantly we worked hard to explode our little bubble into a village. On my worst days, I was busy planning my funeral at night. I was worried 3 kids were going to be too much for my mom and Eric. We have a tiny immediate family, so I began to spread the word. I told my besties everything about each of my kiddo’s personalities. I gave jobs to all of my friends. Girlfriends who would help Addison with getting ready for prom and her wedding. Friends that would tell Ethan funny stories of me when he was too young to remember. Friends who would follow up to help support Garrett at his triathlons so he would have a crowd to cheer him on. Sometimes, I made these calls at midnight. Sometimes, when the pre-surgery panic was setting in. Someone always answered.
Someone always answered … remember that. Lean on them. You can do this, but not alone.