What My Child Has Learned

…..because I’ve been sick most of her life.

My youngest child is eight and I am always worried about how my challenges affect her childhood experience. I worry that she knows words like “prescriptions” and “specialist” way sooner than other kids. She can tell which doctor I’m seeing by how far we have to drive. And she understands that I have case managers and referrals.

It scares the hell out of me sometimes.

But then I think of things like: she thinks it’s cool that I have parking placards and we don’t have to park as far away from anything. She calls it “rock star parking”. She understands that people get sick, and sometimes they die because of it, but sometimes they don’t. And both things are okay. That’s the way life goes. It begins and ends. She’s not scared of doctors, or tests, or needles, or blood.

She knows what an IV is, and they don’t scare the crap out of her. I can’t say that I was at the same place when I was eight. I don’t think most kids are. She understands surgery and that it means the doctors are helping people.

She’s not afraid of hospitals and when we see a fire truck or an ambulance, she asks me if they are on their way to help somebody. Her vocabulary includes words that most kids don’t know, but she has a lot more compassion because of it. She gets that some people walk slower than others and she doesn’t get frustrated when they do.

The greatest things about my child seeing me go through surgeries and doctor’s visits is that she understands people are all different, and sometimes they’re sick and you can’t see it from the outside. She’s not scared or squeamish. She doesn’t see anybody as “different”.

I hate that she has challenges and understands things that most kids don’t have to deal with, but I love that all of this inspires compassion and strength in her.

Have you any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?

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