Wednesday, May 26, 2010
"Kids, I have something to share with you....."
The day had come. Time to tell my kids on the Drum Line. *sigh* Ever since I was first diagnosed I had been contemplating how I was going to do this. I knew I wanted to do it privately, and I knew I didn't want it to distract them from their audition preparations. I also knew I didn't want to tell the Band until after the final on Tuesday. I didn't want to distract them like that...
The day I found out was May 14th, remember? It just so happened that it was the day before graduation. I had gone home early that day because I was just plain worn out from my surgery. My really good friend Dana was my chaffeur the day after surgery. *She's such an awesome chick* It was a really important day for us. Ruskin's band was coming over to rehearse with us; (for those of you that don't know, our high school's are consolidating down to one next year...but that's a story for another day ;) and I felt very strongly that if I was not there I was "shooting myself in the foot" for the rest of the year. So Dana graciously agreed to take me to school and drive me to my various buildings for as long as I was able to manage. For that I will always love her. We had blast that day; even though I was off in Vicodin "la-la land" for most of it. Hahahaa!!
Anyways, the day I found out was the day before graduation. I remember standing in front of my mirror Saturday morning and having a *chit-chat* with the universe, if you will. I had a few choice words that I had to get out of my head and off my heart before I could move forward. We're good now, the universe and me; there's something here I'm supposed to learn and I've just been given a *nudge*. So I'm standing there in front of the mirror and am thinking "This is gonna be weird today." There was only one person at that entire graduation who knew how far the earth had shifted for me in under 24 hours; and possibly a little for her. Jennifer has been a source of comfort and strength for me during these early whirlwind days of diagnosis and for that I am eternally grateful.
So I walk into graduation and it's all so surreal ya know? It was almost as if I had this bright pink sign pointing at me yelling out *Cancer here! She's got the Breast Cancer here!" I handed out some programs then went and sat down. I managed to steer my thoughts away from the fact that I'd been told I have breast cancer, and I was able to concentrate on my Drum Line and Band kids graduating.
Throughout all of the weeks from finding the lump to the first surgery to the diagnosis to *now*, the underlying current has been, "How in the world am I going to tell my kids?"
How do you do that? How do you tell a group of teenagers who are growing into young adults that you have cancer? I'm not saying that they think I'm a superhero or anything, but I believe that there is that image of "Nothing can hurt Stout. She's one bad mama jama!" ya know?
Maybe that's what the universe is telling me cause I'll admit I've felt that way about myself before. That I was strong, young, healthy, doing everything right to stay healthy, and WHAM! *can you hear the laughing in the cosmos? I can*
The only way I knew how to tell them was to just do it. I've always been straight with them, why be any different now? So I started with Azsa and DeWayne; two of my seniors who graduated. (They made me so proud!!) They came and helped me clean out the percussion section at Ruskin one day; and I told them when we went to get lunch. We went to one of my favorite parking lots to eat in and after a couple of minutes I just told them. I don't think I'll ever forget the looks on their faces; yeah, don't think I'll be forgetting that. They were so stunned I felt badly for a second, and before I knew it they were saying "We'll do whatever you need this summer to help with rehearsals; just let us know when and where and we'll be there" and "Whenever you need anything from me over the course of the year, just call and we'll be there to help".
What good kids. :)
After Diante's audition I let him know. I felt like he took it very well, although I could tell he was like "Wha?" *snort* I told him that because he was going to be the only senior from Hickman next year and because he was done with his audition I wanted him to know what was going on. I know he put his hand over his heart at one point and then gave me a big hug and said "It's all going to be okay". Aw!
A couple of days later it was time to tell my boys; all my sophomore boys (and John the silent Freshman ;). I told them that if they could all hang out until all of the auditions were done I'd like to have a *pow-wow* with them. (That's what we call our meetings...*pow-wow*'s). My heart was literally pounding out of my chest as the moment grew closer, as the sentence "I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer" was going to have to pass through my lips and into their ears. It was almost like I could see it physically move through the air towards them, hit them in the face, whip their faces back, shake it all up a bit, then blankly stare back at me with this expression of "Excuse me. What'd you just say?"
I felt sick to my stomach and I felt like I wanted to cry, but I didn't. I explained to them everything I knew up to that point. I kept reassuring them that it will all be okay...BECAUSE IT WILL UNIVERSE!!! YOU HEARING ME?!?!?....oh, *ahem* excuse me... ;) The looks on their faces as I was explaining everything...Forrest looked mad, Tevin looked dumbfounded, Kris looked confused, Jeff looked stunned and worried, Sean almost looked like he wanted to say something funny cause he didn't know what else to do, and John...well John had kind of the same expression he always has...haven't figured that one out yet ;)
I then went quickly onto more positive things; mainly about the non-profit, shirts, and race for the cure idea(s) I have. They're super excited about everything and are chomping at the bit to get going, and it makes me so happy. Plus, they wrapped me up in a big bear hug and said "We're not gonna let it get you Momma". Awww!!!! *tear*