Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Defining times

We all want the best for our children, we want them to be healthy, happy and not ever to have to hurt, and yet we know that the unhappy and hurtful times are those that probably make them, and us, grow the most. I have found this true for me. When things have gone terribly wrong in my life, sometimes I hunkered down, hibernated while I licked my wounds and found a way through the issues and tough times. Other times I have had to put a good face on it all, fooled the heck out of the rest of the world, and sometimes myself too, and again found a way through those times. And looking back on my life I see that these are some of the defining moments of my life, these are some of the springboards that hurled me into the good times, the happy times and the times I would not exchange for anything.

So why is it that we wish away these springboards in our kids lives? Is it perhaps because its so much more difficult to see pain in their eyes than it is to deal with it ourselves? Is it because, although they are going through the pain, we feel it too? I remember when the kids were small and they hurt themselves, or were very sick, I remember how my stomach clenched, how my heart accelerated and how I broke out into a sweat at times in sympathy with their pain. I remember the pain of watching how they worked through a break up of a relationship, or glowed in the sunlight of a new one when I knew it would not work out. Thats all very normal in a mom, I know that, and I wish every mother these pains, pangs and anguishes...it means their kids are growing and so are they, but of course I don't wish anything other than just the normal scraped knees and tonsils etc.

But it's different with Steven now. It's so deeply different. When he is happy, I am not only happy for him - I am also deeply grateful that he is able to be happy despite the leukemia. When he is sad, my heart literally hurts, but on a much deeper level than with my girls. When he hurts, I would do almost anything to stop that from happening - he has enough to deal with, dammit! When he is stressed, I feel the same way - could I take on that stress, in less than a heartbeat. It's not just the stress, it's the effect of stress on his system, its the fact that he is stressed despite that I don't want him ever, ever to be stressed in any way at all.

The normal experiences, feelings and frustrations of everyday, take on a very different depth in relation to Steven. I don't think there are the right words to explain it, but I do know that I cannot shake this. I cannot shake this feeling that goes so deeply with him, and will probably have to accept that since he was diagnosed, my feelings for him run deeper than I could have imagined and on a different level than with my other two children. Now this is not something I wish on anyone else.

And I look at where we are today. Steven looks great, sense of humor in perfect place, he deals with work and everything in his life a heck of a lot better than I remember doing so at his age. His pcr results are all in a safe place, the leukemia is well controlled and most times when we see him, he feels really fine. We are so incredibly fortunate. And yet this deeper depth of feeling persists. I think that when (notice the 'when', not 'if') the cure is found for this disease and he has been cml free for 10 years, maybe then my feelings will equalize. I don't know. It's as if I am extra grateful for everything this eldest child of mine feels and experiences. It's both a good and a not good feeling......

I know that through all of Steven's growing pains, the happies and the hurts, I know that I will worry just that little more, just that little deeper and I also know that no matter how much I worry - what will be, will simply be - and in some way he will come out stronger and able to deal with the next step. He has done it so far. He has been incredible.

Just a few short years before Steven was diagnosed, I had come through what was possibly the most difficult time of my life. It took years to get through the problem and a good couple of years to emotionally recover from those years, so one of the feelings that I had when Steven was diagnosed was incredibly selfish...... I was angry that my life was not worry free any more, angry knowing that I had lots of adjustments in my life to make in order to deal with this. I was angry that what I thought were going to be a good many years of gentle living, enjoying life and just generally being relaxed was all gone. Totally gone. I felt like stamping my feet and yelling, kicking and screaming and demanding that quiet time back again!

And now I see how much I have grown through these last two years, I see how much stronger I have become and how much richer my life is because of Steven's horrible diagnosis. I wish for him ten times the love and growth I have experienced in these two years.........and more. He has already come so tremendously far, dealt with so much and through his dealing with it, taught others that through a bad situations can come so much good.

The next pcr blood gets drawn on Thursday and I am still refusing to become frilly this time :) Lets see how three weeks from now finds me.......

Love and Light

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