After a lovely afternoon with my dear friend Joyce, I was reminded of some surprising areas of lightness that have come, little wisps of humor to sweep aside the heaviness and worry in this breast cancer journey. For even a moment, any humor found is a life boat worthy of jumping on.
My son, although mostly a very happy and joyful boy, tends to have extremely long and drawn out periods of upset if anything is found to be broken, or if the batteries or light bulb has gone out in something. Even as we swiftly replace offending bulb or battery and calmly explain that it’s an easy fix, he is known to perseverate on the idea. It takes a lot of patience and soothing on our part as his parents.
That said, I was really concerned how he would handle my impending baldness. I found some children’s books to help him with this difficult time in our family, with titles like, “When Mommy had a Mastectomy,” and “When Mommy had Cancer”. I do believe these helped to prepare him a little bit, even though I modified some of the language to suit his understanding.
Julian came with me for my first haircut, and got to see it transformed into a fun short cut that we colored red. He said, “I want red hair too!” Then he saw me go even shorter with the #3 blade buzz cut that only lasted for a few days. Even so, when the hair was really gone, I didn’t let him really see me without a scarf or a wig for a good 2 or 3 weeks. Then one day, I decided to just see what happens. I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I just casually walked out of the bathroom and quietly sat down on the couch.
I never would have imagined the response that came next.
“Mommy has NO HAIR!” Julian proclaimed! He next started laughing… HYSTERICALLY! This caused me to start laughing hysterically, and the two of us laughed and laughed with tears streaming down our faces. It was the exact response I so badly needed. I really needed him to be OK with my hair loss and I was sick of hiding this from him. I so badly needed to laugh at the ridiculousness of this side effect of the chemo and feel a little lightness about it.
Next he said in a self-soothing tone, “It’ll grow back!”
What a wise little boy.