Cancer takes away control. I hate that, because I like to have control—not necessarily over people but over my surroundings, my space, my schedule. I like a neat house, a manageable calendar, a semi-clear view of what's ahead. Losing control makes me nervous. Image my anxiety, then, when I had to wait weeks to learn about my breast cancer pathology—the stuff that determines a treatment plan. Consider how wacky I was waiting for my hair to come tumbling out of my head. Think about my mental anguish over the foggy head I developed after my fourth and final dose of chemotherapy—talk about literally losing control—or my two unexpected five-day stays in the hospital. Cancer was out of my control.
I hate that.
But losing control taught me something. It taught me to chill—a little bit—which is why the state of my kids' beds is not driving me completely bonkers.
My boys, ages 7 and 5, are making their own beds now. I figured it was time to charge them with something more than playing, eating, sleeping, watching TV, and occasionally dragging a trash can from the street to the side of our house. So I told my guys one morning to make their beds. I gave them a simple how-to on the whole process, and I set them free. Now they make their beds every morning, often before I even ask for compliance. I love it. I love the initiative they take, the pride they feel for their accomplishments, the fact that it's one less chore for me. What I don't love: The end result—the lumpy, bumpy comforters that are not nearly as smooth as I'd make them, the crooked pillows, the stuffed animals thrown on top of it all. They do far from a perfect job. Gosh, how I wanted at first to control it all, run in their rooms once they finished to straighten and fix it all. But I didn’t, and I don't, because it's their work, it's age-appropriate, and it's something I no longer need to do. They'll become more skilled with time—and maybe with a refresher course taught by me—but for now, they are doing a beautiful job.
Yes, my boys are in control. I'm not. And that's OK.