I should have known something was up when I saw on my caller ID that my mom tried to call three times today. She usually isn’t such a stalker. As I was getting the girls ready for bed tonight, she calls again.
Because she has almost no tact, she begins the conversation (after noting that my children were not in bed…yeah, I was *just* doing that when you called…) by asking me if I want to hear her “bomb.”
Oh, this isn’t going to be good. I’m imagining a death in the family or a fire or a job loss. I’m imagining that something really bad happened to my nephew. A whole host of things.
Turns out (and this isn’t exactly rosy either lest anyone think that my heart is completely blackened) that my aunt (that would be my dad’s youngest sister) has breast cancer. She had a lumpectomy last week. They removed the entire tumor but the cancer has already spread to her lymph nodes. She’s 43.
And, of course, my dad took the call from his brother. Since it was between men, it was a 2 minute conversation with not enough details. Apparently she’s starting radiation this week.
Mom says “I don’t know anything. You dad took the call and then stared at the wall for two hours and didn’t say anything.” Which I can see, by the way. He tends to brood.
Well, she’s young so she has that going for her and breast cancer is really treatable. There’s a 5 year survival rate of like 85%.
“Oh. I didn’t know that. I’ll tell your dad. I don’t know how something like this could happen. I mean, it’s not like she has large breasts or anything.”
I’ll let that sink in for a minute. Or two.
Seriously mom? What does that have to do with anything? So, you have to have big boobs so the cancer has somewhere to go? Conversely, just because *you* have little boobs that makes *you* safe from breast cancer? Seriously? Or, personally, are you trying to tell me that, because I have giant knockers (I wish I were kidding) I am more prone to cancer than the average person?
Now that I think about it, she probably wasn’t making a deliberate stab at me. I doubt she thought it through that far. It’s a fairly complex line of thought. And there’s no way to use a calculator to get to the solution.
I really don’t mean to be so flippant about something so serious. And, to the rest of the family, I’m sure it’s devastating. She is the youngest after all. Is it bad that I’m so casual? Is it heartless that I’m not all broken up about it? Sure, I don’t want her to suffer…I don’t want her to die. I don’t want her to be sick. Is it because of *my* perspective? Is it because we dealt with a very rare cancer that had no hope ever of being cured? So all of the other cancers are lesser cancers in my mind?
Screw cancer. Cancer sucks no matter how you look at it.
Add that on top of this conversation with Ella:
“Is Jesus coming today?”
Ummm…probably not. Why?
“When Jesus comes, Daddy will come with him. I want Jesus to come so Daddy can come back.”
Break my heart, why don’t you? It’s been almost a year and a half. She still talks about him like he’s just busy at work and hasn’t been home in a while to tuck her in. She also hasn’t wanted to go to school. She goes through these little swings every few months where she misses her daddy and can’t seem to function for a few days and then doesn’t mention him again for a while. She wanted to sleep with me last night. She didn’t want to go to church tonight, she wanted to be home with me. When we are home, she’s practically the shell to the turtle that I have become. (Again, I wish I were kidding.)
What am I doing wrong? Have I talked about her daddy too much? Has she internalized too many “adult” conversations about life and death and single parenting?
This is kind of rhetorical of course. Nobody knows what goes through her head except her (and I suspect it’s the Bugs Bunny theme song most of the time).