In the momcolgy/tumor/diseases/whatever world, there's always the mantra of "I am not as strong as you think".
But, actually, yes I am.
I am not happy that I have to know this. I don't feel superior or that it is some level of mom-hood that I feel everyone should need to achieve. But I do feel that strong.
and so are those other moms, who feel as if they are doing everything out of necessity, only. That you are no better than other moms in similar situations... That your kid is the only strong one. Let me tell you, you could easily drop the balls in the air. You could decide to leave. You could run. But you don't. I have said before "you do it because you have to" and that still holds true. But strength can sprout from necessity - strength is not simply doing something. It's who you are and how you respond TO that something.
When I hear bad news, news that rocks the known world, I still have to change diapers and put babies to bed. I still have to make dinner and do laundry. Because those things matter, too. I have other children. I have a family that needs me.
When Reese had inpatient chemo and would puke on me in the night, I still have to change my clothes and get back into bed. And I don't do that because I have to. I do it because I want to. That is why I planned ahead and packed extra clothes.
Holding hands through blood draws and port accesses or saying "it will be okay" over and over through any other procedure is possible because I am stronger than I thought I was. Back when I would read other people's blogs. When I followed other families and thought, how? How do they do it? Then it became us. Then I understood.
I can't worry about anesthesia like I see people do when their child will only have it once in their childhood.
I don't have time to think about the height of a fever when we are packing up in the middle of the night to run to the ER. I don't have time to post a "wwyd" on a message board.
Being strong doesn't negate emotion. It doesn't mean that there isn't a heart pounding, gut wrenching fear that hits at any point in time. It doesn't mean my faith doesn't waiver. It does not mean that sometimes life seems unbearable.
But life is about choosing your moments. I choose to focus on happy ones. I choose to make the best out of any situation. and I choose to be strong. It means looking at today, instead of worrying about the future.
Are our children stronger than we are? I don't mean only the sisters and brothers, but the ones with the brain tumors or other cancers... Of course. I am not the one who puts on the "bubblegum" mask to go to sleep, possibly waking up in pain. I am not the one who doesn't understand why they have to go to the doctor so much, but siblings don't. I am not the one who feels sick or wants to sleep after chemo. This does not define her. It does not define our family. It is merely a part of our journey. It is a chapter that is long and hard. One that, if I could choose my adventure, would have picked another page, at times. But along the way, it taught us how strong we can choose to be.
Don't forget where they learned that, though. You showed them that way. You showed them how to still get ready for dance class or go to school on good days. You taught them to have faith or see the silver lining. They got a lot of that from you. She will go to kindergarten next year and feel, without a doubt, the same as everyone else. Her brain tumor is an afterthought, a footnote. Her bald head, last year in preschool, was nothing more than a hairstyle. Her AFO boot is simply a different shoe.
We teach each other. I am strong because Reese is stronger. Her happiness reminds me that every day is a good day. She is happy because she knows she is loved. I show her when I am happy. I show her when I am sad. I am open with my emotions because she knows how utterly and absolutely loved she is because I do. I don't ever want her to think as if I don't worry or fear for her. She deserves that... for me to be honest. She is always honest with me.
"I don't think I could be as strong as you..."
Maybe not. I hope you never have to find out.