My son’s daycare was the backseat of a car.
His playtime was in a waiting room.
His friends were nurses and patients.
Quality time with me was in a chemo lounge.
On maternity leave,
I did the all the chemotherapy appointments at first.
My son was five months old when Mom was diagnosed.
It was Mom’s sixtieth birthday.
I arrived to the ICU with flowers.
Mom was one day post op.
The surgeon had removed a cancerous tumor from her bowel.
She had colon cancer, stage two.
It all happened so quickly.
We were in shock.
I couldn’t leave Mom alone in hospital.
I had no one to care for my son.
I asked a cousin to come and stay.
My son woke to a complete stranger.
I did not see my children that week.
I left before they woke.
They were asleep before I returned.
I had never been away from my children before.
From infant, to toddler,
From toddler, to preschool age.
‘the girls’ saw him grow up.
I started working straight afternoons.
At one point, I job shared.
I needed to be available for Mom.
I had children who needed me.
I grew exhausted from it all.
I started taking him to bed with me.
It relieved my guilt.
I was away from him too much.
I would hold him all night long.
He had a bottle for way too long.
He always loved uniforms.
He loved his superman Underoos.
He wore them until they looked like shorts and a half top.
They were replaced with a spider man costume.
He wore that costume every day.
He slept in it.
He wore that costume to the clinic.
He would play quietly with his toys as we waited.
He was always good natured.
He liked to go and see ‘da girwls’.
I saw the patients notice him.
I saw heads lift up.
I saw expressions soften.
I saw eyes brighten.
I saw shoulders relax.
My super hero provided distraction.
He provided amusement.
He provided innocence.
He provided hope.
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