Where once there was action
Adventure, climbing, laughing, rough-and-tumbling
Now there is the quiet play of a boy and his roads
Where once there was crying
Laughing, screaming, making noise just-for-the-sake-of-it
Now everyone naps together
Where once there was indiscriminate laughter
And fun and messes and lets-see-what-we-can-do-today
Now each laugh is precious
The rhythms in my house are changing.
Today we withdrew Widget from preschool. I did so with great reluctance, as I really wanted him to be a normal kid this year. It’s going to be a hard year for all of us, and I just wanted him to have the joy of being just one of the kids at school. But his first day of school was the day after I had my biopsy. We left him, crying but brave, in the class of twelve as we went for more tests, and then home to nap. As he learned about snack time and sang the clean up song, we were waiting to learn about our new routine as well. And by the time we were to pick him up at noon, we had been called in to hear the results.
The oncologist said that we didn’t have to withdraw him from school. But what she didn’t say that day, and did say the next week, was that
if when he gets so much as a cold, he must “be isolated from me.” Well, he got a cold. And he gave it to Little Bear. And the first few days after chemo, they were isolated from me. I came home and went to bed last Thursday, and went to sleep. I didn’t get to roughhouse with them. I didn’t get to cuddle them. I barely got to see them at all for days. When I did, it was for a few moments here and there, freshly washed, and very carefully so as not to hurt my aching breast or to allow germs to jump from one of us to the other.
It was the worst part.
Finally, Widget is well again. I’m not yet, but I will be. We’re only seven days past my first chemo treatment, and that means we’re in the tired period. Standard chemotherapy is designed to kill fast-replicating cells, and so the most direct impacts are to 1) cancer cells, 2) hair-growing cells, 3) mucus (I know, yuck!), and 4) blood cells. The blood cells are decimated in three ways: 1) white blood cells, 2) red blood cells, and 3) platelets. So basically everything is shot for a little while. Then the blood begins to recover, the patient feels better, and it’s time to go back for another chemo treatment.
I don’t really know where this is going, except to say that all I could do today was rest. I’m utterly exhausted. I spent more time with Widget and Little Bear than I have in a while (except for yesterday afternoon with Little Bear, which was lovely), but it’s … different now. I’m remembering the tricks to horizontal parenting and volunteering for every story, naptime, and minature train session that I can do from the couch. I’m cuddling and talking and focusing entirely on them when I’m with them. And sleeping the rest of the time.
So the rhythms are changing. But I love my boys, and I am bound and determined to be sure that they know it.
He knows it.