“I think my brain tumor is going to grow back.” These words are still ringing in my ears since a casual dinner conversation this week. And although I don’t love this new norm, this is the norm. This is reality. And, this is also ok.
What prompted this statement was our dinner-question prompts. The kids have loved drawing a question each evening as we sit down together. It’s especially fun because there are 2 little pieces of paper that have a hidden surprise! If you get the smiley face :), you automatically get a piece of candy after dinner. So while I’d like to think they love these questions because they lead to self-reflection and great conversation, I think Brody just wants a chance at candy without eating all his veggies!
The questions, some of which I borrowed and some of which I created, range from, “If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?, What’s your happiest day?, to What’s a worry you have?”. I don’t even remember what Monday’s question was but Brody gave this casual statement. Almost 2 years later, it still makes me do a double take….(My son has a brain tumor?!)
He proceeded to put his hypothesis into statistical terms. (Ms. Hulsey would be so proud!) He said he was actually 75/ 25% that it would grow back. This was a shocking statement to me, which of course prompted more questions like ‘Why? Are you having symptoms you’re not telling us about? Why do you think that?…..”
He then changed his percentage rate to 25/75. Ok, I thought, I’ll take that one. That was one I can handle. And until a couple days later, I was still holding onto these statements like they are the truth. Like Brody is the neurologist telling me what’s going to happen. Then, I realized something even better.
He’s just telling me his fears. He very rarely talks about being scared or worried of something like this happening, although we know there’s always a chance it could. He often reflects on his experiences with the brain surgery but not daily, or even weekly. It’s such a blessing that he’s leading a better-than-normal life and doesn’t have to worry about it daily.
Now, I’ve realized that him verbalizing such a serious thing is him expressing that he sometimes is scared and recognizes that it could happen. Later in bed, we cuddled and I told him how I deal with that worry. I always choose to think positively. I believe good things will happen. I pray about it. I talk about it. I write about it! And, I look at how healthy he is and believe, like really believe, that he’s ok. He hugged me close and went straight to sleep.
Basically, I don’t think he’s too worried or been thinking about it daily like I have. I do think he’s acting pragmatic when he says it could happen. And , that’s ok. Like I’ve told him, a lot of things could happen. Why live in the could!? Live in the present.
So, another lesson learned as a parent. We do way more worrying than our children. Often times, it’s unnecessary and unhelpful. And, when our children do express a fear, rational or not, it’s ok. It could be a minor anxiety or a real concern. It gives us a chance to talk about it, which will only lessen the fear. I’m going to keep the dinner questions coming and see what comes up. In the meantime, I’ll keep savoring and appreciating every day I get. It is a gift!