So it didn't go quite like that, thank god. but it was the most tense five minutes of my life as we all sat in our normal spots, settling in, eating pizza, watermelon - and with Mike and I trying to keep up appearances
"Naomi get your head...elbows...off the table; don't use the table cloth use the napkin...Owen don't talk with your mouth full...Daddy how was your day?" The Cleavers, but stressed.
Ok, finally, after gagging down small pieces of something swilling it with a decent red [bien sur] Ahem, Mummy has some news. Mummy has some bad cells in her body and the doctors are going to take them out. It's called breast cancer. I have great doctors, and we all are sourrounded by loving caring family and friends. We will be ok. I will be ok. and so on and so on, as per the handy dandy phrases and book from my brother - When a Parent Is Sick -
So reactions -Owen, 10 - Are you going to die? Is it contagious? How do you get it? Will they cut it all out? Is it only in that one spot? How do you know? Are you going to die? Finally, release and tears and full-on body contact.
Naomi, 6 - so let me get this straight - mummy, you could be walking around with only 1 boob!?? and then demonstration with napkin inside her own shirt. she thought this was nothing short of hilarious. ok, hard not find it hilarious. But by 7:30 pm, the panic had set in, the rolling in agony over boo boos, and then falling aleep on our bed staring at the moon- "Daddy - Mr. Moon is full tonight, and he says O! I don't know why he says that."
I think we grown ups understand that each day has its O! moments. Some like this, are momentous. Making such moments digestible and real to our children feels like a full-contact sport at times, knowing they trust you to provide them with the plan - or some vestige of an idea of a plan - well, you better get it right or die tryin'. Being worthy of such trust is awe inspiring. And feeds the fire in the belly to sally forth.