A perfect excuse – or is it?

D1 said something last week that is sticking with me. Something that she blurted out with no hesitation – even in front of her friend.

I’ll get to what it was in a minute but a little history first. The elementary school the girls go/went to is a very crunchy granola peace love and understanding kind of place. Which is great! We love it there.  They have a wonderful “peace choir”, they do marvelous earth day programs and the are well-known among the other schools for the great music program.

That said, we’ve been there for 10 years. Ten years of programs, many of them the same. Over and over until the words come back to haunt you in the dead of night. When my patient wonderful loving husband says the music teacher is a loon and he’ll likely die if he hears another Indonesian Gamelan concert, you know it’s bad.

So let’s go back to last week. D3 knew there was an Earth Day program and opted not so sign up for it. She thought she was in the clear. The poor thing has been going to these things since she was 1. She didn’t want to do another, she didn’t sign up. End of story right? Wrong.

Turns out the head Peace Choir lady is also a 4th grade teacher so she decided that ALL of the 4th graders should participate by being in the background choir. D3 was pissed!!!! But, good parents that we are, we bought our earplugs and told her to suck it up and go.

We won’t even get into the part where she stood in the back row frowning and barely mouthed the words. This isn’t her story.

This is about D1. While on the drive back from Cultural Cooking club (I know), she asked what our plans were for that night. I reminded her about her sister’s program and the audible groans began. As well as the laughter from her friend in the back seat because she didn’t have to attend.

Then the excuses started.

I can’t go because:

I have too much homework.

I have to practice my piece for the state music festival.

I think I have a fever.

Someone should stay with the dogs.

While I shared her pain, I shot down them all and reminded her how many concerts/programs her sisters have had to attend for her. Then she hit me with this:

Mom, can’t we use your cancer as an excuse to get out of it?

Ok first, it surprised me that she’d just blurt out the C-word like that in front of her friend.

Second, my cancer is generally the motivator that pushes me to go to these things even when I don’t feel well. Six years ago I didn’t know how many of these events I’d live to see. Each one is precious and just because D3 is on the tail end of these things, and she’s as tired of them as we are, doesn’t make it any it any less important to see each one.

Lastly, is she really trying to benefit from my cancer? Is her silver lining that it gets us out of stuff? Honestly, I can see that.

It was a week ago but I keep going back to it. I keep hearing her voice in my head and I can’t help but wonder if I really have used the cancer excuse too many times. I know I haven’t for anything major but what of the small stuff? Have I skipped too many trips to the pool or downtown events that SG has taken then to while I rested? I didn’t think so until now.

The other thing that bothers me, that is out of my control, is that she’s so desensitized to my cancer that she just blurts things out about it at will. This is the girl who used to not want me to bring it up because it’s “awkward”. She’s acutely aware that it makes people uncomfortable yet she has no issue saying that in front of her friend.

Is guess maybe that’s a good thing? She doesn’t see it as a big deal anymore? I know it’s become routine for me. Just another fact of life. The way things are and will continue to be since my treatment will never end. At least not unless we run out of treatments, then the rest is irrelevant.

So tell me my friends. Is this a good thing? Has it become a non-issue? I explained to her that the cancer is what makes me go, not what prevents me from it. I even told her why – that I’ve never known how many I’ll get to see.

She gets that but she still hates the “We’re one small voice” song.

I’ll give her that one.

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6 thoughts on “A perfect excuse – or is it?

  1. I don’t think it was said for a reason that you’ve hit upon yet. Having gone through the teen agers thought processes four times, I say, humbly, it just sounded right to her at that time, in front of that friend.

    • You could be right -I do have a bad habit of reading more into things with all of them. Especially where the Big C is concerned. THanks!

  2. It’s been a huge part of her life for six years, which in kid years is like 20, maybe. It is not a bad thing that she’s okay with saying it even if it makes others a little uncomfortable. I don’t for a single second think that it means you have used it as an excuse so she can too, though. Maybe it’s been that there have been times when it legitimately just wasn’t possible to do something so she sees it as a reason people would accept.

    In any case, while it completely sucks that it is her normal, it IS her normal. I think it’s great that she can be flippant about it. I think it says that you and your husband have helped her to be okay with who she is and the circumstances of her life, and that’s awesome.

  3. Great post because it’s so very thought-provoking. Personally, I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. And, like most things kids say, it could mean absolutely nothing or it could be filled with all sorts of complexity. I think it’s good that you have created a safe space where the “C” word can be freely discussed. Bravo.

    • I suppose I’ll never now which it is but I’m kind of glad she said it because I know her comfort level about it a bit more. It’s like when she posted about my last surgery on her FB wall. I was glad she felt she could talk to her friends about it.

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