Every morning Pax comes in and snuggles me. Every morning – literally every morning since I returned home from surgery, he lies with me for almost a half hour. Every morning he wraps his chubby little arms around my neck. Every morning he strokes my cheek, kisses my face.
And every morning we talk about my “boo-boos”.
“Boo-Boo” he’ll say seriously, looking into my eyes. And yes, I’ll confirm. Mummy still hurts a little bit. “Hap. Eee. Mum?” he’ll ask. I am now, I say. With you in my arms? Always.
He’ll often join me on the couch at the end of the day, too. Tonight he had a message for me. He pulled down the front of my shirt, looking at my bandages. Carefully, so carefully, he touched each one, labeling it “boo-boo”. Then he kissed them. He kissed my ugly, bandaged chest. “Mum” he said seriously. “Be….bave. Be. Bave.” I looked at him. Honey, I said. Are you telling me to be brave? Pax nods. He thinks. “Me” he says. “Hirt. Nose…..BLUD.” I nod, remembering his bloody nose from last week. “Me. Bave. Pac. Bave.” He points at me. “Mum. Bave.”
I will honey. I’ll be as brave as I can.
Suddenly he hugs me hard. Fiercely. Around my neck. “Zha-zha” he whispers in my ear. This means gotcha. “Zha-zha Mum.”
They found a tumor in and amongst the mastectomy tissue. A real one. It’s a tiny tumor, but invasive cancer nonetheless. I don’t yet know what my treatment plan will be, but we are meeting with the oncologist Monday. I’m trying – for so many reasons – to be brave.