I love to hear my two and half year old speak. I especially love the way she says cancer. It swirls around in her mouth, curls off her tongue and puffs into the air. It sounds so different when it exits my own mouth.
The word is cold and flat and lands with a big thud. But with her breathy sweetness, cancer sounds delightful.
Since the very beginning I have made sure that the conversation my children hear about this disease is honest, straightforward and transparent. A sweet friend from my daughter's pre-school, Ashleigh Lester, made some wonderful book recommendations to me just after I was diagnosed. She is a clinical therapist and a mother of three girls and she was kind enough to impart some wisdom to me. While I wanted to be honest with my children, I was fearful that I would scare them. Ashleigh helped me navigate the conversation in a way that felt natural and appropriate. We started reading the recommended books together and the conversation started. That's when my girls learned about cancer and how it would be affecting our lives over the coming months. The open communication feels so healthy and positive. Now my baby, Malone, wants to know when I'll be better so I can hold her again. Trust me, there is no greater motivation to heal swiftly than to get my babies back in my arms.
Here are the books we read:
Sammy's Mommy Has Cancer by Sherry Kohlenberg
The Rainbow Feelings of Cancer: A Book for Children Who Have Cancer by Carrie Martin and Chia Martin