Tue 26 Jun 2007
nope, not at all. i was going to regale you with more of my deep thinky thoughts on the cheap methadone that is facebook, or make fun of Dave-who-is-now-my-coworker in order to cover the fact that i’m actually really kinda enjoying working alongside him and realize how lonely i’ve been for aspects of our adult, peer relationship (oh halt, gutter minds) all this past year while i’ve been at home.
but something’s come up.
i’ve spent a lot of the day cracking WhyMommy from Toddler Planet’s sitemeter wide open, clicking on it again and again, hoping for news about her breast cancer biopsy yesterday.
scratch that. i was hoping for good news. the “oh, whoops, gee all that alarm for nothing and who said anything about breast cancer? here’s a lollipop” kind of news.
but she didn’t get that kind of news.
Whymommy has breast cancer. she starts chemo in two weeks, the day her younger son turns six months old. she is 34.
we’re not old friends or anything, Whymommy and me. i don’t think i know her real name, though something at the back of my brain twigs and tells me i do and am just stunned into forgetfulness. but i have known her, out here in this world of words where all our most secret and mundane selves and hopes go on display, for awhile now. back on the first of March, when i was still slowly unpeeling the onion of this community and discovering – eleven months into blogging – that i wasn’t alone out here, i came across this gorgeous post, this song to her second son, her “last baby.” he was six weeks old then, product of a hard-won and brutal pregnancy and wailing with gas and pain from a milk allergy she was diligently working to accommodate her own diet to. i had been there myself, with O’s gastrointestinal misery of the summer before, and it had nearly eaten me alive…the sleeplessness and stress and cheese deprivation. but she wrote of joy, Whymommy did. of sitting with her Little Bear on her chest through the night, tender and unresenting, unpanicked, comforting him. because he was her last child.
her words have been with me since. i am not so good at taking the long view, much of the time…i flap and flounder, get overwhelmed by petty things. but Whymommy’s post about sitting tenderly with Little Bear stopped me short, made me really, fully realize how quickly Oscar’s babyhood was passing, how precious and fleeting and one-shot-only it is, how all the tedious little things i do with him daily – and did so much more of when it was just the two of us, at home – might be my last experience of this babyhood thing…this strange, hard, precious gift. i don’t know if O is my last baby. i hope for more, but know that hope is no guarantee of anything. so ever since, i have held Whymommy’s words close to me, a little private mantra. when i am tired, or impatient, i pull O a bit closer and i remember that he may be my last baby. that all of this parenting, even the roughest parts, will be over all too soon…and may never come again. that he is a gift. and then i rise to the occasion, not quite the beatific madonna but still…content. reminded.
for this, i owe Whymommy, big time. she is, in the odd but very real way of the blogosphere, my friend.
and i feel helpless to help my friend, except to send more of you over there to be her friend, too. she doesn’t want pity, or sadness. she has a plan, and the will to fight, and a tenacity that even through teh internets has always been plain as day. this is the woman who sat up all night with a colicky baby and smiled tenderly upon him, beaming. cancer, i expect, will cower in the face of her fearsome will, slink its ugly tail between its legs, and go the hell home.
i know hope is no guarantee of anything. but hope is powerful nonetheless, and there is power in numbers. so go, wrap her up in love and positive focus and stand with her. don’t tell her she’s an inspiration or how sorry you are. just tell her she’s strong, and be there so she doesn’t have to be strong all the time.
and if you’re in Canada, and you have the legs to waddle, the Run for the Cure is a damn fine way to spend an early fall afternoon raising money to beat breast cancer’s ass. last year i ran for my grandmother, and for Oscar. this coming year, i’m thinking Whymommy and her wee boys will be on my mind, too. breast cancer affects one in eight women. anybody want to join me?