As the world starts opening up again.. (I’m in California.. it’s been slow coming) I miss Jennifer in a different way. Kids starting to play sports and the natural progression of conversations..
Are they all yours? How many do you have?
So I have to decide how to answer … and every time it’s an instantaneous swirl of debate in my head. .. And what I’ve been noticing is it’s changed..
Over the years yes.. but also after this time of just us. Closed off.. safe somehow in our own home.
Its been nice in that sense.. Jennifer is of course always always present in our home.. But she’s ours.. We all know.. Anybody we talk to already knows..
But now.. Now as life opens back up .. I open back up to that too ..
I am a mother of 5. Always. I am not ashamed of any of my kids.. the nose pickers.. the tantrum throwers or the dead one. . But the latter is a bit harder for those I am just meeting..
The reactions vary of course .. but there are really a few main ones. .. And actually all are ok..
Wellll almost all ..
Always the taken aback moment.. The surprise and almost confusion..The first few years.. (how is it possible that we have reached the point of first few years?)..
Those first years I could see the palpable pain in their eyes.. But as time passed that changed.. Now at times I sense the wondering of why I am sharing her. Sad uncomfortable information.. Not always of course. But I can for those people see the question flash behind their eyes ..
I don’t blame those who react that way.. Because honestly I really do think I would feel that way too..
But I would have been wrong.
I love my kids. And every day that love gets deeper and stronger.. Whether I get the privilege of seeing them.. of talking to them .. or not. And she still makes me proud. She is making a difference .. Making an impact.. Guiding me along the way in my attempts to do the same.
And as my kids get older I try to be aware of how it impacts them.. And I can’t help but wonder if people treat them differently too.. Mostly just the ones that can’t stomach it.. and somehow think it’s contagious. .. Do the kids see that.
Does it change who they can be friends with?
Do I even really care?
I do. And I dont.
you will always be their biggest sister
There are also the folks that are comfortable asking for more information. .. And even share Jennifer with their family as they come over to watch the game.. I am grateful for these people!
There are the people who apologize for bringing it up.. The ones that just aren’t sure what to say and let me lead the conversation to a new spot. Or just even acknowledge the awkward.. because it is. Of course it is. I appreciate so much all of these people. That they don’t let the hard.. the scary … the unknown push them away..
But selfishly my favorite are the ones who remember.. If I mention Love4JLK or fluttering the ones that even remotely know her.. It really gives me such joy. To know she touched people.. in her all too short life.. during her fight … or through her forever death… It means I am still doing my job as her Mama.. and helping people to know her still..
And of course a ton of other ways happen too..
However for me.. the only people that I can’t get past are the avoiders.
The ones who treat me like its something to get past by just connecting to us. Something to overcome and push away .. And avoid at all costs. . I know we are most parents nightmares.. and they have to be confronted with it.. forced to face the simple truth of childhood cancer.
Kids die. Normal average families.. Our kids can die..
I can only imagine what that’s like since I have never been in those shoes..
It was rare at first. So few people reacted that way.. Or maybe it’s just that I was barely holding it together so I didn’t have the bandwidth to even notice.
But now I do. And I don’t want it to hurt.. but it does. .. Just for a minute. .. And I just hope .. I worry..
for my kids..
I was going to type my surviving kids.. And I know it doesn’t make sense but I mean my kids.. Every single one of them.. Mama to five still.. I hope it doesn’t hurt my kids.. I don’t know if they notice..I hope they don’t ..
i am so proud to be your mom
…until there is a cure..