Cancer Taught Me to Appreciate My Children More

I’d like to talk about an important topic many parents don’t think about in their day to day lives and that is appreciating your child’s childhood. I know what you’re thinking. I’m just trying to live through it, right? I know the feeling believe me. I chose to stay home when my oldest was born and there were many days when I wished I could have a few minutes for an adult conversation. Then my youngest was born thirteen months later and I was completely sucked under.

My days were a routine of feedings, diapers, and naps. I loved the naps by the way. I was able to steal a little sleep myself and eventually my kids grew more independent. It was amazing to watch them grow into the little people they are today.

My oldest just celebrated his eleventh birthday. He invited a few friends over and we took them bowling. It was a fun night and as I watched him with his buddies, I realized how fortunate I was to be able to stay home with them. We have an incredible bond and the two boys are extremely close.

I also thought back to my oldest tenth birthday, we didn’t have a party for him like I wanted to. You see, I was going through chemo last year and if that’s not a wakeup call, I don’t know what is. I was sick, bald, and very depressed.

How did I get through it? I focused on my kids instead of my cancer, that along with taking some anti-anxiety medication. I was angry you see, pissed off at cancer for messing with my life.

I didn’t want my illness to affect my kids’ lives in any way. So I did what I could to keep their routines the same. I put my wig on and went to their school parties. I dealt with the sympathetic looks as I withered away. I lost twenty pounds in a mere four months. Talk about an excellent diet. I wouldn’t recommend it, though.

When I couldn’t work, I took them to the bus and picked them up every day. I made sure they had meals and were able to have play dates. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re going through chemo and you’re sick all the time, everyday tasks become almost insurmountable.

I’m better now, I’ve had all the surgeries that were required and I got through chemo. Cancer has taught me to appreciate my children more.

[tweetthis]Cancer has taught me to appreciate my children more. #momwisdom[/tweetthis]

I’ve learned with parenting there are no do-overs. Once the words have been said, they can’t be taken back. I work very hard as a parent. It’s the toughest job I’ve ever had and the most rewarding.

What is the hardest part of parenting? It’s having the patience to explain, and taking the time to do it. I’ve never uttered the words, “Because I said so.” I rein in my irritation and explain why we have to respect people’s opinions even if we don’t agree with them. I tell them we need to agree to disagree sometimes and we can still be friends with someone even if they have a different opinion. This is a conversation we’ve had numerous times, and there are days when it wears on me, but then I think about my recent brush with a life-threatening disease and suddenly it’s not so bad.

Cancer woke me up. I thought I was doing a good job appreciating my kids’ childhood, but the truth of the matter is there was room for improvement. Isn’t there always?

Anyway, now I give even more hugs than I did before, I tell my kids I love them every single day, and I tell them I’m proud of them. And it’s true. These words are spoken with the greatest sincerity. Your children know when you’re faking it.

And those moments when I lose my patience, it happens, I’m not a saint. I apologize. I tell them Moms get grumpy too. What does this do for my kids?

It makes them feel valued. They know they’re important to me. Isn’t that what every kid needs to feel?

I’m taking the time to teach them the nuances of navigating this crazy world. I don’t know if you remember that floundering feeling of your late teens and early twenties, but I sure do. I don’t want my kids to feel that way. So I’m trying to point them in the right direction and build healthy egos at the same time. I’m hoping those early days of feeling valued will help them down this bumpy road of life.

Cancer has taught me to be thankful. It’s taught me to enjoy every moment I can, even the not so fun ones because you never know when it’ll be your last.

Thanks for reading my post today. Leave a comment, share some of your special moments with me. I’d love to hear from you.

My name is Lisa Orchard, I’m the author of “The Super Spies” series and “The Starlight Chronicles.” I want to thank Crystal for allowing me to be a guest today.

 

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Crystal

I'm Crystal. I'm married to Dale, and mother to Johnny. Some might say that my life is perfect because I get to do all the cliché wife things like cooking, cleaning, and decorating - but there's more! I also have many hobbies including needlework (crochet), sewing, and reading. My son's education is important, so we homeschool him together.

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