Each day

Since I’ve published my email address on my review site, I’ve started to get emails from people I don’t know.  One who touched me this week was Wesley, adult child of a cancer survivor.  He shared his story with me, and, as he does it publicly every Thanksgiving, I want to share it with you.  He calls it, “Why don’t you take me to the park anymore?” and the title alone ripped my heart.

It was a few days before I let myself read it, fearing what it had to say.  Because the title of his piece embodies one of the hardest things about this cancer, one of the greatest fears of all mothers, I think. 

Feeling that we’ve let our children down.

And the truth is, I don’t take my three-year-old to the park much anymore. I don’t while away the afternoon with my one-year-old in new and exotic museums like I did when his older brother was that small.  I don’t bake cookies, or walk endlessly around the block, or race them “to the next tree!” all the way through the park.

But I do make it a point to do something special with them each day.  And so, even though I’m taking three (count them! three!) naps a day now, I have managed to take them:

1. To the truck touch, to check out the fire trucks, police cars, and bookmobile (Saturday);

2. To ride the little train and the carousel (Sunday);

3. To the playroom for an impromptu playdate with friends (Monday); and

4. Outside for a picnic after school, complete with blanket, peanut butter and jelly, and swings in the hammock with me (Tuesday).

And last week we started a new tradition: baking bread together.  Yes, it’s just a bread machine (I can’t knead or mix dough anymore, with my crappy arm, but that gave us an excuse to finally get a bread machine!  Welcome to the 80’s!), but Widget proudly helps me measure the ingredients and dump them into the pan, and when the bread is almost done, he runs to the doorway and breathes in deeply, saying, “Mama, Mama, our bread smells wonderful.”  And then, whether it’s noon or nine p.m., we sneak down the stairs for a fresh slice, soft and warm and a little bit crispy on the outside, making memories with all our senses.

I may owe my early mornings to the radiation center, but they are easy to forget when I can share such beautiful sunsets with my family.  I hope that when my children are old enough to ask questions like Wesley did that I will either be healed or still able to make these memories, one by one, with the help of my wonderful sons, who just last night asked, “Mommy, can we go outside and look at the stars?”

… you know the end of this story.  You know that even though we were putting on pajamas and picking out books, we ran outside in our stocking feet, holding hands, and looked at the stars.  Making memories every chance we get.

P.S. Go read Wesley’s story, if you can.  He makes a beautiful point: sometimes, it’s the everyday ordinary things that make the biggest memories for each of us.  Like the way mom used to cut apples for lunch.

12 Responses to Each day

  1. Kathy says:

    You can only do your best. Those special things you do each day will mean more to them than you will ever know.

  2. catnip35 says:

    You do more with your kids each day than some parents EVER do.

  3. Ally says:

    Wesley’s story is amazing. Thanks for sharing it.

    And for what it’s worth, it sounds like you do more fun outings with your kids even when you’re sick than I do when I’m well. Just sayin.’

    They know they are loved. That’s for sure.

  4. linda young says:

    Susan,
    I am Beth Young’s mother and you and your family used to live on our street in Mississippi. Please say hello for me and this is to let you know how much we are praying for you and your family. I know this is tough – but life has a way of dealing these kind of hands to us. I marvel at your determination and at the same time, your tenderness with your boys. As a grandmother (Beth has 3 girls (6,3,3mos.) and John has 2 boys (7,3); it touches my heart in the way you describe your time with them. My best to you and yours! Linda Young

  5. janistan says:

    I wanted to reach back. thank you for visiting and commenting. I think, each day, just you being with them, is special. VERY special. Every day rocks in your kiddos’ world because mummy is HERE. Big hugs to you, you’re inspiring.

  6. Your oldest friend, Adam says:

    I remember the time your Mom came to McLeod and showed us how to bake bread. Allen (what’shisface) with dark brown hair and freckless was handling some money and you Mom made him wash his hands. This must have been 2nd or 3rd grade.

    But I think your grandmother would be OK with using the bread machine. You’ll get to kneed again.

  7. canape says:

    Adult child of a cancer survivor.

    I guess that’s what I am too then. Hadn’t ever thought of it that way.

    And that is what Widget and Bear will be when they grow up.

  8. margaret says:

    That’s great. I’m sure they will remember baking bread for years to come. The girls love when I make bread (expecailly banana bread) because I let them pick what to add (applesauce, apple slices, chocolate chips, walnuts, raisins, ect.)

  9. MammaLoves says:

    Don’t beat yourself up over museum visits. I think that happens as you add to your family. It’s hard when you’re completely healthy to manage everything. Honestly, I think you do a much better job of making life special for your kiddos than most of us.

    Once again, you serve to inspire and remind me to be a better person.

  10. SuzyQatHome says:

    You keep making me cry! And I find myself (after the very very bad day we had today) tip-toeing in to kiss my two goodnight yet again.

    Forget museum visits for now – I’m willing to bet that memories of making bread or blowing bubbles or painting on windows will overshadow the “going places memories” anyway.

    The only memory I have of being 3, is of riding my tricycle in the driveway while my mom and dad sat with their feet in my brother’s kiddy pool splashing him. And the part of the memory that makes it memorable is that I felt safe – because they were THERE and they were watching me.

    And you are THERE and you are doing everything you can. They feel safe. And they’ll remember.

  11. Noregrets says:

    My sister had major surgery recently, and of course people brought them food to help the family out – she has two children 7 and 5 (or is it 8 and 6?). One day about a week or so after she had been home from the hospital, her daughter broke down in tears at the dinner table, ‘why can’t we have our normal food???’

  12. Bubba's Sis says:

    I’m an adult child of a cancer survivor, too. You are doing SO great, sweetie! Don’t worry one bit about how much you are doing, because you are doing the BEST you can and it IS the little things those boys will remember. Don’t push yourself too hard – you’ll be around to take them places for a L-O-N-G time!!

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