Thoughts on Mothering...
Sorry for not posting yesterday...it was a very busy day. It started out with Ellie throwing up straight away on waking up. Not a great begining to the day. Later there was a struggle to find anything at all that she could get down. I finally decided that I would make her take something that was good for her, and that if she would just give up and take it, it would help her feel better and turn the day around. I finally got the last bite in her and she threw up everything that was in her stomach for the day (it was 11:00 in the morning)! I wanted to cry...it was one of the moments that as a mom, you just hate. You try to do the thing that you know is good for your child, even though it means being tough, and you think that if the child would just listen to you and give in they would understand...then it all goes horribly wrong. Ellie just looked at me, as she hovered over the bucket, and said "Mom, I tried to tell you that I couldn't eat that, but you just wouldn't believe me" (as the knife went straight into my heart) "I was hungry earlier, but you didn't hear me calling..." (now I need the bucket...) I forgot my own advise about listening to her intuition about her body. I knew that, but I guess I just thought that she was being stubborn and trying to not do something that she didn't want to do.
It is very hard trying to balance the caring, comforting side of mothering with the tough, discipline side now that Ellie has cancer. In many ways she is still a typical 8 year old girl with all of the attitudes and things that go along with it, but she is very different in other ways. The best way to describe it is that on an emotional level, it's like all of her outer layers have been stripped away and the part that's left is the innermost fragile and tender part. I think that even young children have a way of protecting that inner part, especially with their parents. They know that we love them, and so they learn to brush off the times when we are grouchy or unwarrentingly harsh. Because they can put it all into context, they don't let it reach that place where it would really hurt them (unless, of course the parents really are abusive, but I'm talking about the normal things that loving parents sometimes do). What I've seen in Ellie is that all of her physical and emotional resourses have been directed straight into survival. The only part that's left is SO easy to bruise. The first time I noticed this was when we came home from the hospital the first time (after being in for a month). I was overwhelmed and tired, it was bedtime and Ellie was stalling (or so I thought). After repeating myself several times, I said something in exasperation like "I don't know why it is that you think you can just ignore what I say. When I tell you to do something, you just think that you can pretend I'm not speaking and do whatever you want instead." When John put her to bed, she curled up in a little ball and just cried. I felt terrible. When I finally got into bed that night, my hand touched a piece of paper under my pillow. On the paper were two crooked little misspelled words: "I'm sorry." Needless to say, I sobbed myself to sleep that night.
I guess this all is a good lesson for me. It doesn't mean that I am able to give up on disciplining Ellie, but I have to be much more careful about when, where and how. I have to be much more controlled myself...and that's hard. There are still many times where I have to bring Ellie up short on an attitude or something, and I fully plan to continue that. I can't stop being her mom just because she has cancer...I wouldn't be doing her any favors. But I do have to rely even more on God to prompt me as to what Ellie can handle, and what things have nothing to do with attitudes or stubbornness and are just my own inability to be patient and kind. In all of this, I choose not to live in guilt over my mistakes, but I've accepted God's forgiveness for them and am hoping to live in God's grace and do the right thing the next time.
Ellie kept everything down yesterday afternoon and has done great so far today! The only sad thing is that she did mention yesterday that she had trouble hearing the TV. I had to explain to Ellie that the chemo made it so that some things would be harder to hear from now on. I was surprised that it was so noticeable to her. She has also had a lot of ringing in her ears. This morning she told me that it sounds like little crickets in her ears, and she asked if it would ever go away. I don't know the answer to that question, but I intend to find out. What bothers me the most, is that we have to go through these same drugs for round 5. If the hearing damage was this significant the first time, what will it be next time? I know, I can't worry about that today! O.k., I'm back now. Today is a good day...she's bouncing around and smiling...and I'll take that!
Ellie playing a game with her Uncle Michael:
I hope all of you are having a good Sunday...wherever you are and whatever you're doing. Thanks so much for your love and prayers!