The gift of talking

It’s not every day that you hear your child casually tell his sister that you never know what can happen. Brain tumors can grow back. 

We were riding in the car yesterday and I was finally deciding to take Anna to the doctor for what we thought was a lingering cold. She’s had a cough for a week and a half now and felt run down. She says she feels fine but we may need a round of antibiotics and a doc to give a little exam at this point.

Brody was encouraging this and telling me he really thinks we should take her. While I’d like to think it’s because he wants her to get better, I think he just wants his sister to have to go to the doctor more since he’s had more than his fair share this year. So, she says she feels fine and doesn’t want to go, and Brody says I really need to take her.

Then, out of nowhere, he says….You know. Anything can happen, things you never expect. Like brain tumors can grow back.

Ironically, I had just had a brief conversation with my sister-in-law earlier in the day about the great report we got at the last doctor’s appointment. She asked me if he was acting differently now, was he relieved, or not as stressed?  And, I told her he really acts no different and hasn’t acted stressed or burdened about it at all. He was really just excited about not having to go back for 6 months. As far as I see, he acts likes a normal kid and has since this summer, which has amazed me.

This was a reminder that he isn’t a normal kid; he’s more than that. He is an amazing kid. When we go to Dr. Savage and she talks about the MRI images etc., she has never specifically said we are looking for “regrowth”. She has told Brody we are watching this area, but she’s been fairly vague. Of course, she’ll answer any question he has but he always seems content and not worried. He’s taking it in, though. He knows we are monitoring the area even though we’ve never told him specifically why.

When he said this in the car, he didn’t act worried either. It was very matter-of-fact. And, it gave me the opportunity to talk with (not to) him more about it. While that is true, that could happen, it’s not a way to live, to be worried about what could happen. Bad things could happen every day but usually don’t, I explained. We don’t focus on what could go wrong. We focus on what is going right. So much is going right, right now.

I will continue to talk to him about this, though, because talking is going to keep the doors open to communication, now and in the future.  In fact, we worry less when we can express what’s on our mind and don’t keep it hidden in the deep, dark corners of our minds. More importantly, though, I will continue to listen to him. What a wonderful thing that I have a child that talks to me about whatever pops up. It’s a gift but also one that I will continue to value, nurture, and encourage.

When you’re thinking about what your health looks like in the future, talk to me. When you’re feeling sad about what your ‘friend’ rudely remarked about your teeth, talk to me. When you’re not feeling confident about trying the new sport, talk to me. When you’re disappointed about not getting the football at recess, talk to me. When you’re feeling nervous about the spelling bee, talk to me. When you’re feeling proud of yourself, talk to me. And, keep talking. I will always listen, I won’t belittle you or make you feel less than, and I will always value your opinions.

Talking and listening between children and parents is a gift. As parents, remain open and non-judmental. Don’t rush to fix it, but first wait and see if they are just talking through their own solution. Provide moments where there is conversation. Practice talking, at dinner, in the car-ride home, or at the store. Don’t expect them to always have something significant to say and press them for information, but do let them know you want them to talk to you. Then, maybe you’ll have the important brain-blurps pop up at the most unexpected time because they trust you.



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