Kids know. They have instincts adults have lost. Never underestimate the power of a kid. (This was written a few weeks ago, and I am just now getting to adding it here.)
I know that my daughter is a smart girl. I know that she is in so many ways wise beyond her years, but I never cease to be amazed by her instincts, and her ability to read people – especially her family.
She knows that we share a genetic link and that we both have the same – Cowden’s Syndrome. She knows that we tend to grow things. She knows about her own AVMs, and that she has some thyroid “bumps” we are watching.
I am guarded but honest when I speak to her. It is important when you have a child who is sick so often that they trust you. I learned there is no way to lie to her and keep her trust. So, I answer the questions she asks, using as few words as possible, and I always stay honest.
That is why I was floored a few nights ago. She has been having a hard time with her knee again. In the middle of a not so common, depressive episode she complained for a while about her knee, and the permanence of the pain and swelling. She was frustrated, and she is allowed – so I held her as she cried.
What floored me was what happened next. She grabbed onto my shoulders and looked me in the eye. She said “I know…” I said, “What do you know?” She said, “Cowden’s makes it more likely for us to get cancer. You had cancer once and you were ok. Are you going to have it again? Is that why you had your other surgery (the hysterectomy?)”
I swallowed hard, intent to stay focused. “I don’t know,” I told her. “I don’t think so. We just took this stuff out to be safe.”
She looked at me with those tired eyes. She looked at me for a long time. She held me tightly and said, “I don’t like leaving you ever – even for school.”
Holding her as tightly as I could, I said, “I know…”