My friend just got diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma. She has begun Chemo treatments for it. She is 35, with three young children–the youngest of whom is not even 2. After hearing the news I cried, called my partner and cried some more, called my mom, cried some more. And then I stopped. And for some reason I’ve been telling myself that it’s all going to be okay. My friend will be fine. What do I have to base this thinking on? Religion? No. I’m not the praying type. Medical statistics? Not really, although I have googled them several times. No, what I based my opinion on was that my friend will be okay because she has young kids and that somehow this will protect her.
This isn’t the first time I’ve thought this. My partner recently had a minor health concern, but I was certain that all would be fine–because we have young children. And thankfully, we were. I rarely go to the doctor for anything, mostly because I am convinced that whatever is ailing me won’t kill me–because we have young children.
I’m not sure why I try to fool myself in this way. When I was growing up, I lost two uncles tragically–one hadn’t even turned 40. Both had young children. Having young children didn’t save them.
Yesterday was Father’s Day. While everyone was posting pictures of their fathers, husbands, and partners on Facebook, I was remembering how long it has been since my mom has fulfilled that role in the absence of my dad. Then I thought of my cousins and how their formative childhood and teen years were without their dads. And I thought of good family friends whose father has recently had a stroke; his wit and sense of humour hidden behind confusion and memory loss. Having and loving children isn’t a shield against illness, accidents, and sorrow.
So why do I keep telling myself that having young kids will save people, protect them, keep them from harm? I’m not sure really, except that I’ve got to have hope. I’ve got to believe in something. And the strength, power and love of children is something I am willing to believe in.
And now, one of the happiest versions of one of the most hopeful songs I know:
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