What Cancer Taught Me About Being a Mom

What Cancer Taught Me About Being a Mom
I dated a guy in college who described the time he saw a nasty brown stain on his shower floor. When he called his mother, she explained that he would need to clean it with cleanser and a sponge. All his life he assumed that the shower cleaned itself, that the soap, water, and shampoo scoured the floor automatically. Why would he think differently? After all, his mom took care of these things. But her caretaking came at a cost. When it was time for him to fly on his own, he didn’t know how. It reminds me of that fable about teaching a man to fish — you know the one. I remembered that guy early into my cancer treatment. Another oncology appointment loomed around the corner, making me aware of my tenuous grip on life. I had triple-negative breast cancer, and the chances that it would come back and kill me were high. Regular scans helped my doctors and me to check my status. During those days, when I was treading water, I found myself part of a group some people call the “worried watchful.” Much of my mental energy went toward figuring out what to teach my daughter in case I didn’t make it. That’s when I realized that she doesn’t even have chores. Was it too late to teach her to fish? I grew up in a household of nine people, and everyone in my family had to pull our own weight just to keep things reasonably functional. No one had the luxury of not pitching in. But Lauren is an only child. Her primary job has been to enjoy childhood and do her best at school. Just before she was born, my husband and I so
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