Changing Rhythms

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.


23 Responses to Changing Rhythms

  1. kgirl says:

    Oh, he does. I’m guessing that face is the best medicine.

  2. Stimey says:

    Fantastic picture! Your boys do know that you love them. Without question. And I could take a lesson from you on focus. It’s so easy to be with your kids without really BEING with them. And they all deserve that so much. You’re such a good mom.

  3. Leann I Am says:

    What an ADORABLE little guy! Your kids are getting way more quality time than quantity. Oh, that must be so tough! You are my hero for being so strong! Your kids are lucky little men!

    By the way, I can’t remember the last time I spent quality time like that with my kids! Sad, but true.

  4. Take Care of Yourself xx

  5. ~JJ! says:

    You rest now, when you need it…so you can quickly recover and enjoy all the roughhousing once you are 100% well…it will happen.

    You aren’t missing anything…they know you love them. And they will know it now and when you are better….

  6. Jenster says:

    Precious baby!

    Your boys will know you love them. They’ll feel it in your cautious hugs and see it in your smile and the gentle way to talk to them and how you tell them all the time. And next year this will all seem like a bad dream and you’ll be the mom that you really, really want to be right now.

    The first time my son played in the band at the highschool football game I sat in the car on the street. My white count had crashed so there was no way I could go to the game. I listened to the band with tears streaming down my face as I tried to picture which trombone was his. And that rage you were talking about in your last post? It found me that night.

    But that was nearly two years ago and he never doubted I loved him. Yes, he was 13 at the time and your boys are so much younger, but they know, too.

    The rhythm may be changing – it does that throughout life – but the message of the song is the same. :o)

  7. Oh, The Joys says:

    I can’t help but imagine how you must feel. Wanting to be with them and not tired, and yet so tired.


  8. Emily says:

    Oh, goodness. I was going to comment on your post but then I saw the picture and all thought disappeared. With a face like that…!

  9. MammaLoves says:

    They know it!

    Sorry you’re tired! Get you’re rest. And enjoy those amazing smiles.

  10. canape says:

    Emily is right. Any intelligible thought I had went out the window when I started drooling on my keyboard at that adorable Little Bear. What a stunning little man.

  11. Lauren says:

    Take care of yourself and your boys the best way you can. And I am sure they already know that you love them. Probably more than they could explain to you.

    Also that is the most adorable picture!

  12. Adorable boy. And he has boy written all over that face.

    Rest. They clearly know they’re loved.

  13. twithhoney says:

    If my kids getting a cold meant that I had to be isolated from them I’d pull them out of daycare the germ factory too!

  14. Jenn says:

    The rhythms may be changing, but you are the conductor and you know what’s best.

    Keep on keepin’ on.

  15. ohamanda says:

    Good post! Always praying!

  16. Kelly says:

    The smile on your gorgeous son’s face is indicative of the loving care he receives.

  17. ByJane says:

    But rhythms changing is the nature of life–all of it, good and bad. We need to go with that ebb and flow, rather than resisting it. And that is certainly what you’re doing.

  18. Colleen says:

    That is a picture of one happy little man.

  19. Jennie says:

    Adorable picture!

  20. christine says:

    you are riding those waves beautifully. that ain of not being with the kids when they are sick must be so hard. here’s to a germ free summer, love.

  21. clifford says:

    That kid will look *great* in a Bulldog baseball uniform. Calling Coach Polk after lunch.

  22. Daisy says:

    You are on my prayer list. I’m linking you to my blog, so my friends and family can also be praying for you ok?

  23. Ally says:

    Oh, they definitely know that they are loved. Good work, WM. I continue to pray for you each day, and I know you can beat this cancer! Hang in there and get the rest that you need.

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