I've compiled a list of 10 things I have learned since finding out I have leukemia.
Today, I'll share with you Number 3.
3. Teenagers are still, well, teenagers
A friend of mine came over last week and gave me an amazing gift. She said she'd do whatever I needed her to do and could stay for three hours. Let's call her A. My mind raced. This is awesome. But how do I choose a task for her to tackle? I'm the kind of person that likes a neat house. I like things put away. I like a clean floor. I like a clean bathroom. This is all comical because I have seven kids. And, believe me, when you walk through my front door, you can tell. I decided to have A clean the bathroom that gets the most use. This was a tough decision. A door into my world would be opened to her that I keep slammed shut. I don't want anyone to know (or see) how that bathroom looks on a regular day. Yuck.
Bravely, with weapons of mass destruction in both hands, she tackled and conquered that bathroom. It looks amazing. Amazing. When my kids came home from school, I made them all go stand in the bathroom and take a good look. There were audible gasps and wows.
"THIS is what a clean bathroom looks like," I said.
They sheepishly thanked A. It was at that instant I became embarrassed. It was at that instant I wanted to hide. Here I sit with all these kids. Yet, someone else had to come over to clean my bathroom. I stupidly thought that once the kids knew about my cancer diagnosis, they would step up and help more around the house without being asked. HAHAHAHAHA I feel like my house is crumbling around me. I want my kids to activate into helper mode, like my friends are. It's not happening. It's not going to happen. I find myself getting frustrated telling them I need them to do this job or that job. I want them to see that the microwave is gunky, that the hall needs to be mopped, that the trash is spilling onto the floor, that empty boxes of oatmeal don't belong back in the pantry, that the ice tray needs to be refilled after ice is taken out, that the peanut butter goes back in the cabinet. ... Having cancer means I don't do any cleaning. I discovered that having cancer means it's hard for me to teach them how to do it, too. I think that's the part that's upsetting me? It's not that my house is "lived in." It's that we live in my house and I don't feel like a participant. I don't feel like I'm preparing them the way they need to be prepared. They are just kids. God isn't done with them yet. And, cancer diagnosis or not, they are still teenagers. Their world revolves around them. Their wants. Their needs. Their dramas. This isn't all bad. There is something innocent, something lovely, about being able to glide through your world seeing only what's in front of you.
The body, amazing work of art by God, actually does this for us. It's a way of protecting us from getting hurt. And my children know hurt.
My children know what it's like to have a parent diagnosed with cancer and die. I want this time to be different. So, I pick, very carefully, my battles with my children. And, today, I'll fling open the bathroom door and expose it all.
For the rest of the 10 things leukemia taught me, here is Number 1, Chemo Brain was Number 2.