Not just a new normal, a new joy

It’s a hospital week for Jacob. We are back in the city for Jacob’s last round of immunotherapy in his protocol. We did it.

Yesterday was the dreaded COVID test. I didn’t tell him about it until he asked, which was inevitable. 

“What are we doing at the hospital? Am I getting accessed?”

“No. Not today. We will be fast. Just a test.”

But he is one not to be tricked that easily. He knows the drill.

“I’m getting the nose swab for COVID aren’t I?”

“Yes.” I’m ready for it. I even get ready to cover my ears for the scream. Screaming is Jacob’s favorite parent torture technique.

“Ugh. It’s my least favorite.” And then back to his ipad.

That was it, but I knew better. And I start thinking about the bribes I can use when we get there as due to COVID I go alone and if he doesn’t walk…without Steve it is hard for me to carry him.

He walks in perfectly. Chatting away. I then find out that there is only one nurse available for his test. On average we have had three to hold him down or calm him down for the late anger that sets in. I know I’m in for it. How will this work?

But he sits down. He tells the nurse that he wants to count to 40 as that is his mom’s age (thanks Jacob…not everyone needs to know this). And I go to hold him down. I grab his arms. And he stops counting. 

“Mom just don’t hold me down okay? Promise me you will not grab me. Just hold my hand.”

I promise. And just like that he lets them do the test. He doesn’t recoil. He doesn’t scream and he stays perfectly still so they can get the other nostril.

I’m still bracing ready for the freak out, but Jacob’s says. “I’m getting better right, mom? I just wasn’t used to it like I wasn’t used to being accessed before. I just needed to do it a few times. It isn’t so bad. They should invent a way to do most nostrils at the same time. Maybe dad and I can make something!”

I share this story to remember it, but also there is a lesson here.

We tend to overlook the resilience of children. We tend to think for them. Putting our anxiety and our “knowns” on them, but it’s us adults who have the harder time adapting. We want our norm and even force the now to meet its expectation in our minds. We want control and we fear this new reality for our children. 

We worry. I guess that is our job.

We worry about their mental state during these crazy times. We worry about their academics. We worry about their socialization. Worried what message these masks give them. And the list of worries continues. 

But remember, children are adaptable and flexible and they will be alright. They will find not just a new normal, but joy and happiness in that normal.

And adding this video for a specific cancer dad right now. A cancer dad who just had their child diagnosed in this craziness. Who can only have one parent at the hospital during a time when your world is so shaken you need your partner more than ever. Who begins the “being accessed” experience. Two large needles going into your child’s chest. As you can imagine this is anyone’s worse nightmare. Natural response is to protect the body. A natural reflex is to scream, cry, and push away that needle. But look cancer dad! Look at Jacob now!

He is at peace.  He is in his new normal. He is not scarred for life. Your child will get there too. I know it seems unimaginable, but it will happen. With you every step of the way.

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