I’m camped out on the couch. For noise, I have on Chopped, but what I’m really listening to are my children.
S and AJ are in AJ’s room tonight. They’re watching cat videos on YouTube using S’s iPad, which she shouldn’t have right now because it’s after 8:00 pm, and in our house, on weekdays, no iPads after 8:00 pm is the rule. Yet, I’m not yelling for her to bring it to me. Instead, I’m listening to hysterical giggling, squealing, and the occasional ad-lib’d lines as S and AJ create story lines to accompany the cat videos.
Tonight, they’re carefree children. They’re happy. They’re laughing. Giggling. Playing. Creating. Tonight, they’re my joy.
I don’t feel great tonight. It’s been four days since treatment, and side effects are rearing their ugly heads. The taste in my mouth is back. I’m moving slower than I’d like. I’m exhausted. The muscles in my shoulders and neck are sore. My feet hurt. The skin around my neck and head is sensitive for some reason. It’s the kind of night where I’d like to curl up into a blanket and have a quiet meltdown. But, I’m not because S and AJ are giggling as they watch silly cat videos (which is, of course, the reason the Internet really exists, right?).
My children know I’m sick. They know the word “cancer,” and I despise the day we had to teach them the word. Ironically, their experience with cancer has been generally positive. They know their grandmother had cancer, but she’s fine now. They see my mom and assume the same will be true for me. She’s fine. She had cancer, but she’s fine…now. They assume I will be, too.
Tonight, they know I don’t feel good, but it isn’t stopping them from being kids. From having fun. From being little.
My children probably aren’t little to anyone but me. S is 10. AJ is nearly 8. S is nearly as tall as I am. AJ isn’t far behind her. They like Minecraft, Skylanders, Star Wars, Gravity Falls, cat videos, and card games. S loves Boo, The World’s Cutest Dog. AJ loves Pokemon. They aren’t toddlers. They aren’t little. But, tonight, as they giggle and play, all I can think is how much I hope they always stay little…that they always love each other and are there for each other…that they always find joy in the simple things.