Monday, June 25, 2018

Survival of the Yeah-buts, Yeah-but holes and Relevance.

Age 12- the super nasty precursor to the teen years. They figure as a parent, you have it figured out by now, how to adapt to your child. Don't know who they are, but they suck.

Survival of the fittest is NOT THE CROSSFIT WINNER. Survival of the fittest has to do with an organism's ability to adapt.  Ironically, for our family and many other families like ours- we are chronically trying to learn how to adapt and live with cancer.

The preteen years- where they test the bounds of reasoning and arguing. You watch one child push another out of the way. Hey- watch it!   It was an accident.

It is not an accident because you got caught. Yeah-But....

You know where yeah- buts live?

resigned.....yeah-but holes.

The littles laugh hysterically. You said but hole! And that is why just a few months ago, the youngest thought she was hysterical- she would randomly yell penis. Until it got a reaction. It did not. Because well we are inappropriate like that in the yeah but hole. The deal is to know your audience, know the boundaries and for the love of all the yeah-buts do not embarrass in public.

We struggled with Bella this year, helping her find her place, her way, her. Phil consistently reminded me, we've done this before with each child. Yeah-but each child is their own being, we have to adapt our parenting to their Wiley ways. I am tired. I am tired of adapting, but their survival depends on me, on us. I try the other tactics that worked with the others. Not a shred of improvement. Like even DURING the process. We've always been pretty good at creative discipline- punishment fitting the crime in unique ways. I have met my match in the stubborn department. Well played Karma, well played.

Bella has a reason for everything. She is so smart. She does not know when to shut up and color. I assign her random tasks, Phil looks confused- like How in the f#@! does this help us- well IF she does it, it keeps her busy. Things like dismantling light up cups to replace batteries, only I have no intention of replacing batteries, those bad boys are going to good will...but a half an hour later, she's broken 2 cups and found a 3rd to be rusted through. No loss on my end. Explore, play, figure it out. Learn. We tried Tinker boxes- monthly subscriptions of activities- the problem is, she'd just do it, never look at instructions- but she learns through destructions.....keeping this in mind.

When Kiera was little, Phil struggled to find common ground. As a military brat- he felt parent-child relationships went a certain way. And that's lesson 1 in parenting/life- rarely does anything go the way we envision it. Somewhere after the nasty 12 year point- they found they had the same sense of humor. Kiera would usually talk at dinner, (breakfast and lunch being her favorite meals) and all of a sudden they would be laughing through tears at something none of us got in the slightest. This was also around the time I got perma-cancer. Bella found attention through being quirky in the most inappropriate ways, Kiera took on the little mama role.

For many years between when Bob and Dad died and hopping back in the cancer saddle, I felt the urgency. Because you just don't know if or when. Or what. Or why. The choice is: learn to live despite the gaping, burning heartache and threatening clouds or sit miserably waiting. My dad and brother died in relatively short order. There was much cancering in my family, my cousin dealt with it for years. Others had "littler" cancers, pretty regularly. I learned to adapt. For me, cancer mean swift end, not prolonged managing. I learned To live in the moment, to find the beauty whenever I could and to help others. Fill my karma punch card if you will. Leave an impression as a friend, as a wife, as a mother. When the kids were younger, it was so hard, but easier to justify. This was the biggest thing on my bucket list- being mom. I cooked, I cleaned, I sewed, I did social clubs, redecorated, saved, the whole shebang. When a friend was in need- I jumped to help. karma punch card. For many reasons. I knew the lonely pain and despair of loss. Friends don't let friends go through that alone. Being a military wife gave me a different opportunity on different levels. A group who understood the urgency of setting up a network and the heartache of goodbyes.

I've said since the beginning- accept help when you can, because when you really need it, it may not be there. I said often, wait till I really need it. I've needed.   Go to social events, or you will be forgotten. I stopped going.  It happens. Reach out to others. If you've gotten this far, thank you. You are one of my tribe. I know you are there and even if we have chatted recently- send me a message however we usually chat- all it has to say is " yeah but holes". I tell myself Do not get bitter. When others who have more, get more. When the days are hard and others need more of you. At least if they need you, you are still relevant, right?

Phil came home from work, questioning his relevance. Oh bud- we are all replaceable. Our hearts are not. Our memories are not. But we can build on them. He's worked his ass off despite a wife with stage IV cancer, 4 mini mutants, and well life- to make sure we have a home and healthcare. And usually he gets shit for it on my end, because I miss him, I miss feeling good, I miss the normalish life. This is the normalish life.  He could have retired this year. But he is making sure all the bases are covered. He too wants to fix, help, be his best and leave the world better than he had it because it's hard-wired in him as a decent human. Our adaptation to the challenges may make them appear easier. Just as the cancer patient who dances through chemo and is beautiful despite being bald is revered. Sometimes we dance slower, there are days that even the best make-up can't cover the wear and tear BUT if adapt to the way it is, not the way you thought it could be- you could decorate the shit out of that yeah-but hole!

Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)