Sunday, February 5, 2012

You just handle it

A few years ago, the daughter of someone I know was diagnosed with cancer. The little girl was just 3 or 4 at the time, the same age as Camille, and had a new baby brother. The parents were going back and forth between the hospital and home, dealing with older siblings, the new baby and cancer treatments. Their heads were spinning but they were doing well.*

Time and time again, they heard the phrase, "I don't know how you do it," followed by, "I could never do that."

Uh, say what?

I hear that often too. "I don't know how you do it with four children; I don't know how you handle it" and so on. I usually ignore the comments but if people persist, I just say, "well, you would."

Some get the hint that the conversation is over. Others don't and insist, "No, really, I couldn't."

Dude. What?

In the case of my friend, what would the alternative be? Let your kid die? What would my alternative be? Let my child live in fustration, depression and sadness? Not help him work to be the best person he can be?

We all go into parenting expecting normal, healthy, neurotypical babies and children. No one ever expects their children to be born early, have delays, disorders, or major health issues. Yes, it goes against the grain to make your child sick to make them better . . . but when that is your only choice, you do it. You do it because they are your children and by golly, you are going to fight for them until there is nothing left to fight for . . . and then keep on.

You handle it because you have to. You wake up every morning because if you don't, who will? You deal with the drugs, the medicines, the screaming, the anger, the fustration because you have to. No, you aren't strong enough to handle it on your own. That's why you have friends, family, God, faith, love to help carry you through this. And when it feels like no one supports you, you go out and find that support.

Why? Because the alternative is not an alternative. Not handling it is not an option. You pick yourself up and figure out what to do next.

They are your children. You are their parent. You must handle it.

*The child in question is now in remission and doing well.


  1. Amen! Just yesterday my 6 year old daughter asked me, "Mommy, if you knew in the hospital that I wasn't going to be smart, would you still take me?" I don't know where in the world she got that idea. I told her that I would never look back no matter what because I had carried her for 8 1/2 months and fought hard to keep her "cooking" as long as I could and there was no way that anyone was going to take my baby away from me. I then reminded her that Cha-cha has Apraxia and we didn't find out about it until he was almost 2 1/2, and would we just give up on him and give him away because of his disability? She had a surprised look on her face and she instantly "got" it. "No Mommy," she said, "We would never give up on him, even though it makes you sad and frustrated sometimes. We love him."

    I too sometimes get the "I don't know how you do it" comment - sometimes too often. But you're right, there is no alternative. You do it - sometimes you're half asleep and frustrated out of your mind, but you love your children so much that you'd move heaven and Earth if it meant 5 minutes of their happiness. :)

  2. Oh you absolutely handle it and presumably any parent would. BUT, I think what people really mean is that they couldn't do it without falling apart - they don't see you do that. The people that are close enough to see the meltdowns don't say that.

    Maybe its just my optimist nature, trying to assume the best from people, but yeah - I think what they really mean is they couldn't handle it with the grace they see "you" having through the pressure.

  3. No, I do think you have a valid point. I think maybe I have heard this comment one too many times lately!

  4. Well said, Laura. I hear that all the time. People only see the public me, not the private me that falls apart in my closet with some kleenex. You just plow forward - it is the only option!

  5. Thanks Kathryn. I need to fall apart in private more, though- that's a problem for me! Lol!