Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Their World Stays the Same

This was originally posted to The Chicago Moms.  Since this was written, my father is now out of the hospital.  I write this blog as a virtual scrapbook for the girls, so I am still reposting it here.

My father is in the hospital. For more than a week now we’ve been on a roller coaster of days that often start with the phrase “Are you kidding me?” We also seem to say, “How did that happen?” a lot these days. There’s no end in sight right now.

Even with this all swirling around us, we have a simple rule regarding our girls. No matter what is happening, their world stays the same. They go to school. They go to Girl Scouts. They do their homework at the breakfast bar. They play with their friends. We all walk the dog after dinner. They go to bed at the same time. For as long as we can make it happen, their world doesn’t change.

I discovered that this might be an unusual response while at Brookfield Zoo Friday night. One of the other moms chaperoning the Girl Scout field trip said, “There’s no way I could be here. I’d have to be at the hospital.”

I certainly understand her feelings. I have often felt like just stopping what I was doing and going to the hospital. Still, it’s not all about me. Right now I have to find a balance where I can be mom, daughter, wife, co-worker, volunteer, etc. Most of those roles can flex a bit, but not mom. If nothing else, the girls will have as much stability as possible while we deal with my Dad’s health problems.

They do know Grampa’s in the hospital. We went to visit him on Halloween. The girls paraded through the hallways in costume, delighting the staff and patients. They understand that Grampa is very sick, but don’t know all the details. They are, after all, just seven years old. They don’t need to know every detail about his condition. They wouldn’t understand everything and most of it would just frighten them. We answer the questions they ask without giving too many inappropriate details. We think age-appropriate and simple seems to be the best way to go right now.

I’m starting to wonder how long we can keep up this pace. Of course, the answer is that we’ll do it as long as we have to. No matter what else is happening, we’ll keep the girls world as stable as possible for as long as possible.


Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Only you guys can know what will work best for your family. That sounds like a good plan, to me. Their lives may very well be truly upset. They don't need to overly worry about things that they cannot change and have no ability to fully grasp.

That said, I wish I had known just HOW sick my grandma had been when I was 8. She had cancer and we didn't get to visit her very often nor were our lives too upset beforehand. My mother was devastated when she passed away and it really affected me. (still does). I can imagine that she wasn't able to discuss with her 3 small kids the possibility of her mother's illness. Perhaps they were misled on just how grave her situation was. I'm not sure. She still can't talk about it. :(

You have my love and support. I hope his situation is one that improves quickly...

Noelle said...

I love that you keep your kids' life as routine as possible. I'm so guilty of getting caught up in whatever's happening and throwing my daughter's routine off. I guess that is something I really need to work on. Thanks for the reminder!

Sending lots of hope your way for you and your dad.

One Woman's Thoughts said...

Being a good parent, balancing life and knowing how to best raise our children is a daunting task. And I don't believe that any way os 100% foolproof. It is the hardest job there is.
I commend you in wanting to have your girls live as normal as a life as possible. But what is a normal life? Is life not all that comes into our daily experiences and how we relate to it? How will your children be when you aren't there to keep everything working status quo for them? Because that time will come someday. Please, do not think I am judging you. So many of these questions I ask myself of my parenting and my parents before me. Looking back at some of the things I did, I do wonder if I would do them differently knowing what I know now.
Best wishes to whatever your parenting style is.