I actually considered not telling Katie and Jack about my diagnosis. It just seemed unnecessary to get them scared about Mom dying, when that’s unlikely to happen (positive thinking, not delusional thinking, right?). But then I remembered when our neighbor’s stepmother died and Katie read about it over my shoulder on Facebook, and when her friend came to the door that morning Katie said, “Sorry about your grandma!” and Kailey freaked because she didn’t know yet—her parents had planned to wait until after school to tell the kids.
(Let me take a minute to apologize to Tina and Jim for all of that AGAIN. I am soooo sorry!!)
I would hate for a concerned teacher or parent to ask Katie or Jack if Mom’s hair has fallen out yet, when they have no clue why that would happen. And really, the more I thought about it, the stupider it seemed NOT to tell the kids. As much as I want to protect them from the suckiest parts of life, this is something that is now part of their lives, sucky or super-sucky. And I don’t want them to resent me someday for hiding important crap from them, like my mom did when I found out as an adult that she’d been a potty-mouth all my life, or at least since she finally left that peepee-soaked heckhole (Walla Walla).
But that’s a whole ‘nother post.
Anyway, this morning Jack and Katie brought up my coffee and both then got on the bed with me and started bickering as usual. I figured this was a good time—both to say FOR GODS’ SAKE, SHUT UP ALREADY and to tell them about the tumor. And it was. I told them that the problem with my back was kinda serious, and people might ask them how I’m doing, etc. I said they should answer questions like that honestly. I also said that sometimes the treatments for this kind of thing make people’s hair fall out, and even though I hope that won’t happen with me, it might. Katie’s eyes got huge. Jack got a big, goofy grin. You know what? Their polar-opposite reactions pretty much perfectly define the personalities of them both. Katie takes everything seriously and is concerned and caring and sensitive; Jack thinks everything is hiiiiilarious.
So, the dreaded deed is done and it wasn’t nearly as awful as I expected. No tears. They both eventually skipped away, and started a new argument almost immediately.
Those are my kids.