This has been a time of emotional ups and downs in our house, as I am sure you can well imagine. The boys have each acted very, very different and I thought I would share in case anyone else ever faces similar circumstances one day.
Son #1 - 14 Let's just say the child has driven me to drink on more than one occasion. His way to cope with a sick mom and the big, scary "C" word is to push me away. When you think about it, this makes alot of sense. Greg has already lost two moms (one birth, one foster) and NOW his mom, the supposed-to-be-forever-one is sick. It's alot easier to push me away, stay angry and convince yourself that life would be almost BETTER without her than admit how very scared you are. We are talking this through, and I know it makes sense to him too that maybe, just maybe I haven't suddenly turned into the Witch of the West. When I left yesterday to make my way down for surgery in Vancouver, I got a hug, an "I love you mom" and a big smile. I love that kid so much, and seeing how scared he is makes me want to fight this all the more.
Son #2 - 13 This reaction has surprised me because Eric's world must stay safe and that is what he clings to always, as I have talked about extensively on here. Eric has matured about 8 years in 2 months. He is being helpful and considerate, sweet and silly. He is holding his temper (for the most part) and trying, I think in his own way, to pretend everything is all right by keeping it all right for himself. Add to that, the drama of the older brother, and Eric's new role as the "well behaved child" makes life much easier. I know, always, that there will be fall out with Eric when the stress of this time is done, his "pretend everything is perfect" response will crack with the weight of the emotion he is feeling, but for now all is ok. He loves me, and shows me how much with this gigantic effort.
Son #3 - 11 Tanner is about as problem and conflict avoidant of a child as you can generate. You add that dynamic to a child that is complaint to the extreme and you have a child that is under severe stress. Tanner is my child struggling the most and attempting to hide it the best. He has developed a nervous habit of picking at his finger cuticles, they are now all bleeding and raw. He is failing every single class in school - this a child that was labeled "highly gifted" by the school system two years ago. He has forged (repeatedly, as I discovered yesterday) my signature on school papers and notes home from the teacher. All this in an attempt to pretend everything is alright. I am not supposed to know about missing homework because "I have cancer", I am not supposed to know about the detentions because "I have cancer", I am not supposed to know that he is struggling because "I have cancer". The difficult part here is that he is SO sensitive and acts completely fine at home. We would never know that his school life is falling apart. He is cuddly and happy and wants to chat. He hides it all. You would never know. He thinks he is making the problem go away and poor kid, doesn't know how to cope. I wish I could gather up my little man, trying so hard to be a big man, and take away his fear.
Son #4 - 8 Caden is scared. Caden will tell you, the guy at the grocery store and mention it to your dog for good measure. Caden is here with me because he wants to see me in the hospital and being at home is not an option. Probably, he is handling it the best. Apparently he is single handily praying for a league or two of angels to be with me and sending along "Theo" his treasured stuffed puppy to accompany me into surgery. He wants to be brave and see me "with the tubes", and to his mind being here means he has some control over the outcome. I love, especially right now, that he wants to cuddle because lots of times, right now, I need to snuggle.
Husband - 38 Calm, cool, collected. And totally faking it! But that's ok, we both know that acting strong and brave and competent right now is what we need to do for our kids.
Today I spend in the hospital getting more tests, meeting the drug doctors and last round of consultations with the surgeon. I am at the hospital Monday morning at 6:30am, under the knife by 8 am. Out of surgery, if all goes well, by 1 pm and on my ward by 4 or 5 pm.