“You’re no fun.”

A couple of weeks ago, my oldest child said this to me, followed closely by, “You never do anything anymore.”,  not realizing at all how that cuts.   Some of you are probably thinking, “Big deal, Nicole.  Kids say stuff like this all the time ”

But it is.  The last three summers I haven’t been any fun.  Surgery/Chemo.  Surgery/infection.  Surgery.  And in this case she wasn’t referring to some parental comment like “Our sofa is not a jungle gym, please sit down.” (Which she has heard on occasion.)  She was sad because she couldn’t go somewhere due to my inability to drive post surgery.

When I was first diagnosed, I worried about how she would cope with all the weirdness of having a mom with cancer.  At first, I thought she’d be afraid.  But she wasn’t.  I thought she might be clingy.  But again, she was her usual gregarious self.  She would talk to anybody and everybody about my cancer.  (I’m sure she gets that from me.)  There is no playground conversation stopper quite like, “Hi there!  Did you know my mom has one boob?”  (And no, I’m not  exaggerating.  She actually said that.)

So then I worry that my children have become intolerant of my medical issues.  The boy still cuts me some slack, but man, the girl is giving me a hard time.   “Do I have to do all your jobs for you?”  Let me tell you how well that one went over.  😛  Thankfully, my mama friends say that their 7 year olds are the same way, which makes me feel better.  I’m hoping to chalk it up to my horse blinder theory in which kids (and some adults, heh) can really only see the world as it relates to themselves with little regard to the bigger picture.  One of our job as parents and educators is to help our children learn the empathy skills that enable them to see the world outside of themselves.

I don’t want you to get the idea that the girl is nasty all the time.  She’s not and is generally very helpful.  I think it’s just those well-timed zings that she doesn’t truly understand that prey upon my fears as a parent. 

Am I no fun?  Has cancer made me a bad mama?

Of course not.

But I think it’s time for empathy training boot camp.  🙂

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