The other day a friend of mine who just had a baby was saying how tired she was because her baby kept her up all night. I should have said, just grow up and become me- you will be able to torture her way more than she ever tortured you. I suppose there must have been times during the infancy and childhood of my kids when they bothered me, got me scared, upset, sleepless, angry, or sad, but I really only remember the funny stuff like Laura having just been to the nude beach at Martha's Vineyard, decided that naked was the prpoer way to sun bathe and the "lifeguard" (I use that in quotations because I am sure he was just some selectman's kid, not a real lifeguard like I was when i was 18 although I had to have someone else take the eye test for me. What? It was a pool. No one drowned. But i digress. It is the chemo.)anyway so the lifeguard yelled at us that she had to wear clothes. She was 16. Just kidding. (Forgot that I sent link to blog to Laura) She was a baby. And meghan once wrote a story about me that started, "My mom is a small mom. But she is a grown-up." I tell that story all the time because it proves that my kids have at one time believed that I am a grown up.
I got all the free booklets about family members of people diagnosed with cancer because of course I wanted to do the right thing with them. Cancer doesn't just effect the person with it. It effects their family, friends, generally the police and fire department, the waiters at the local restaurants, the cashiers at Target and of course the guy sitting next to you at Fenway Park. I briefly though some sort of a support group for family members with cancer might be good- they could be with people going through the same thing. Like, my mother got breast implants and shows them to total strangers (I still show the good one to anyone who asks.) My mother does not obey any traffic laws (or "suggestions," as i call them) because she thinks that if she gets pulled over the cops will let her go because she has cancer. (They will) My mother made me promise to find out how to make pot brownies and then texted me step by step how to do it when she conned another relative into teaching her. I'm thinking that these topics don't come up too often at support groups. And if my kids raised them, they might get thrown out.
It's not that I am intentionally trying to torture my children. I was saving that for my 80's and 90's when my mind goes and they will probably have the financial means to put me up in style. It is just unfortunate that I have raised them so well. Too well, maybe. They are both smart, responsible and serious about important things. Laura would still spend her rent money on a good pair of shoes (I taught her that) but she is in college still. She may grow out of that. Unfortunate, as we are almost the same shoe size. Oh maybe some of their good qualities come from having been raised also by their father who is no longer my husband but who remains VERY serious about almost everything. So as children of divorce, they needed balance. He was serious. I was me. he paid bills. i took them to Disneyworld. A lot.
They are great about the cancer thing, really. Meghan takes me to all my chemo appointments and remembers everything my doctors say. So I cannot say, "didn't my doctors mention that I should try cocaine?" in front of her because she will not back me up. And Laura, away at NYU, calls all the time,never borrowsmoney any more and makes me come to new York and forget I have cancer. But i was sort of hoping that they might accept the "I have cancer" excuse for some of my annoying behavior. Not only do they not, the last time I used the excuse, one of them said, "You probably don't even have cancer anymore. You only had a little, and you've had surgery and all this chemo that killed your hair. It must have killed your cancer, too." I guess a possibility, they don't measure how much cancer you have while you were on chemo. So I am now only able to say you should do this or that because I am on chemo and certainly had cancer at one point, maybe even still do.
I get chemo at a big Boston hospital. There are a lot of funny looking people there. I am one of them. I understand people may like to talk very quietly to their companions about funny looking people. Not making fun of them, just trying to figure out how they got that way. I don't have a problem if they talk about me. However, my kids seem to have some issue with my quietly mentioning anyone's oddness. Now they strike pre-emptively. We walk into a room, they scan it for anyone I may think about discussing, and if they find one, they look at me and say "No." In fact, sometimes they find people I wouldn't have even noticed at all. I think that makes them worse. They won't even play the "Is that a wig or just really bad hair?" game in the chemo waiting room, or help me give silent awards for the worst cancer fashion. And let me tell you there is some really bad fashion out there. Just because you have a life threatening disease doesn't mean you should take all your 60's hippie clothes out of mothballs and flaunt them in front of the rest of us. It is depressing. That is why they have cancer shrinks.