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."
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.