“What about Christmas?”
That was the immediate reaction from my nine-year-old daughter when I announced at the dinner table that Deane was going to have his hip surgery in mid-December.
“Does that mean were not going to have our Christmas party?”
Well… My husband and I went into reassurance mode. We will work it out. We’ll make it fun.
If Deane were an only child, I wouldn’t give a second thought to the date of his surgery. We’ve been waiting for more than two years. He needs it. Now is the time.
But he isn’t an only child. His sister is incredible about all the accommodations she has to make living with a disabled brother. But messing up Christmas? I thought maybe this was the breaking point.
After absorbing the information for a couple of days, she got really upset. Was she worried about Christmas? How could we make it work? Our neighbourhood party was the highlight of her year. What about Christmas day? Despite all these questions, that wasn’t what was really borthering her.
She was scared about the operation and concerned about her big brother. How much would it hurt? Would Deane be okay in the hospital? How would he handle the therapy? What would he do if he couldn’t watch his recorded basketball games? She needed to know that Deane’s needs would be fully taken care of. She needed to make sure he would be OK.
She had the same worries we hadn’t expressed. We didn’t say what we were really thinking because we didn’t want to upset her or Deane. But when you’re nine, these things eventually bubble up and , no matter what they’re feeling, it’s your parents’ job to reassure you.
A nine-year-old who is more worried about her brother’s television viewing than having to spend Christmas in a hospital is just pretty awesome.