In the midst of cancer treatment, it can be difficult to remember that there is still life to be lived. Sometimes you feel like you’re in freefall, careening from one desperate situation to the next, with little control over where you end up each day. The countless tests and procedures dictate your days, and I’m sure as an adult or teen the situation would feel hopelessly depressing. But for children, especially toddlers – their mandate is simply to just play. They want to keep having fun and learning about their world. The countless hours waiting in clinic aren’t boring to them, they just pull out their toys and get on with the serious business of play.
I’ve had to remind myself of this many times over the past couple of weeks. More than anything, Gavin needs me to just play with him. There are times when I’m so busy acting as his health advocate, that it’s hard to do that, so I consider myself blessed to have my Mom to take on this role with him almost everyday. Over the last couple of months we’ve seen huge leaps in his imaginative play, as more and more we play role-playing games, creating hilarious scenarios that are re-enacted countless times. Some favourites include: Monkey’s Bathtime, Max and Ruby Bake a Cake, and Buying Coffees. Usually, each situation ends in some sort of disaster. (Gavin: “OH, No!” Me: “What happened, did Max break the eggs again?” Gavin: “Yeah!”) Despite the setbacks he faces, he continues to be such a happy little man, and although I may be tired at times, I remember how miraculously lucky we are to still have him with us, and try to enjoy these shining moments with him.
Last weekend we decided to head up to the family cottage for a 24-hour getaway, knowing that it might be our last opportunity to do so for awhile. It was intimidating, venturing so far away from the hospital and the protective bubble our home-care nurses have created for us, but I strongly felt that at some point we have to try to have some sort of normal in our lives again. I mean, so many things aren’t and can’t be normal. He can’t have a bath or eat solid foods or run around on his own or go to the park on certain days for fear of infection. But, I thought, we can go up north and throw stones in the lake, pick up sticks and go for a boat ride. So we did!