I’m not grateful for becoming part of a community that is made up of families whose children have cancer. I don’t want to be part of this community. I’m not comforted by the fact that we aren’t the only ones going through this. No child should have to go through this. I’m not grateful for these things.
Do I sound like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum? Because I have felt like throwing myself to the ground, kicking and punching, having a complete melt down whilst yelling, “IT’S NOT FAIR!”
Have you become annoyed with me yet? Let me redeem myself.
I’m not grateful for becoming part of this community. I wish this community never existed, that no child would have to fight for their life against cancer. But I couldn’t be with better company. I’ve made the most amazing friends. The moms, dads, families and survivors that have reached out to me are nothing but amazing. I’m grateful for the messages they’ve sent of hope and support. They’ve gotten me through this. I presume to know how they felt the first time learning about Parker and my family. My heart sinks when I see a new family on the hospital floor. The fear and confusion on their faces is palpable. Worst of all, it means there is another scared, ailing child. I want to reach out these new families and hug them. I want to apologize that they are now part of this community. I want to show them what I’ve been shown. That you adapt. You gain strength, somehow. And this community is here for you. We have your back even though we’re all going through our own struggles. Right now I can’t even look them in the eyes though. Not yet. My heart sinks just as much when I see new Facebook support pages pop up on my news feed. I can’t bring myself to click on them and send them messages of hope and support like the ones I’ve received. I can’t even explain why, but right now, it’s just too hard. But I will someday because I know how much it meant to me to receive those messages. Those families and messages inspire me.
I am also grateful for those who haven’t been through it but still reached out to me. I watched friends of mine go through this with their baby girl, and I have so many regrets. I felt terrible about what they were going through, but I didn’t express it. I didn’t know what to say. I thought about them often, and I was amazed at how they handled everything. I’m so sorry it took me going through it to be able to tell them that. I’ve been surprised at the friends who have come out of the shadows to show their support and the friends that I thought would reach out, but haven’t. I regret being one of the friends that never reached out, but it makes me even more grateful for those who have reached out and understanding of those who haven’t.
I’m grateful for Parker’s friends and their moms who have invited Parker over or have sent their kids to hang out with him. This means so much to us and it’s so good for Parker.
I’m grateful for those that have spent not only their time, but also their money, to keep that wonderful smile on Parker’s face as well. From something as small as a homemade card to the care packages with numerous gifts in them, they have all meant so much to not only Parker, but also to Kevin and I. Each one has been so very much appreciated. Every time I go to the post office to pick up the things that have been sent, I get teary eyed. I’m so glad that so many people care about Parker. I’m also inspired by each one of you and have questioned what more I can do for others. We want to “Pay it Forward”, and we will. We will start off doing small things until we know the financial toll this is going to take on us, but eventually we’ll go bigger.
I’m sure you’ve heard that we’re having a benefit to cover medical bills and travel expenses. My husband is a contract worker and doesn’t get paid time off. So the time off he took off to stay home with Kaitlyn while I was at the hospital with Parker (which was most of December) was all unpaid. As is the time off he’ll have to take for Parker’s surgery. This in addition to medical bills and travel expenses and it quickly adds up. Although we hate asking for help, we are very excited for Parker. I can’t wait for him to see how many people care about him and want to support him! So to those of you who are attending the benefit, I’m extremely grateful. To the companies and individuals who are making donations for the benefit, I’m extremely grateful to you as well. And to the people helping coordinate the benefit, I can’t even explain how grateful I am to you. I want to hug you all, but I hope a simple THANK YOU suffices for now!
My family. I am so grateful for my family and the friends that I consider family. They’ve came to visit and helped cheer us up. They’ve helped with Kaitlyn. They’ve brought Parker food and snacks; whatever he’s craving. They’ve expressed their love and support. I’m grateful for their silliness. From the silly hats and gifts to the text messages and bad jokes, they know how to make us smile. My dad was quick to purchase wrist bands to show support and spread awareness. I’m so grateful my mom rushed to the emergency room when I told her they found a mass, and I’m grateful she was there when the doctor told us they thought it was cancer. If my mom isn’t at work, she’s at our sides. I’m also grateful she’s an oncology nurse and asks the questions I don’t think of. I’m grateful for Parker’s great-grandparents who make the trip to visit us. I’m especially grateful for their hugs because nothing beats a hug from your grandparents.
I’m grateful for many other things. Nurses, doctors, the cafeteria worker who always asks how my baby is doing, his school’s counselor, principal, teachers and staff, the coach that invited Parker to practice and the mom who coordinated it all, and so many more. Please do not be offended if I left you out. I’m sitting in a hospital room, sleep deprived, typing what seems to be the 100th draft of this!
What I'm most grateful for though, is my son. My strong, courageous, amazing son.
My next blog post will focus on Parker. No matter how hard it is, I’m going to make myself do it…