This is the week the boys went to Camp Kesem.
This is a magical place for children who have had a parent with cancer. It’s a place for them to just be kids and enjoy themselves. We met the counselors in May at their informational meeting and the boys were excited to go. But the night before, they both were a bit unhappy about being gone for five nights. We assured them that it would be a good experience for them and a chance to bond with other kids going through the not so fun experience of having a parent with cancer.
We dropped them off on Sunday and will pick them up on Friday. This is the inaugural year for the Santa Clara University Chapter so they kept the camp small at less than thirty campers. There are 16 staff members so the ratios are excellent. I have seen a few pictures and it looks like the kids are having a good time. My younger son, I think I will call him Ferdinand, was a little homesick the first night. The counselors checked in with us and we helped them with ideas for easing his homesick feelings. So far, they seem to be working.
There are many branches of Camp Kesem throughout the country and it is a completely free camp. If you know of children who have a parent who has been through, is currently going through or has passed away from cancer, please send them a link to Camp Kesem.
It’s been really quiet in our house. Too quiet. I miss those boys.
But I know they are having a good time and that this is a great experience for them.
My first thought when I was diagnosed was for my boys. I was so concerned for them. I actually felt like I had failed them as a parent by being diagnosed with breast cancer. I was so down on myself about what my illness would do to my boys.
And we had a rough time. We bonded as a family but it was all still very rough. The hardest thing for me is not being able to be the active and energetic mom that I used to be. I know we all do the best we can but my best is not great at the moment and not at all what I envisioned for them.
And one thing I have learned is that having a parent with a serious illness can make you grow up really fast.
And that is why I am so thankful that an organization like Camp Kesem exists. I hope my boys have taken full advantage of the opportunity to just be kids and enjoy themselves.
Because this stuff is really hard when you are a little kid. And everyone has commented on how supportive my boys are and how well they have handled my illness, but that in and of itself is a concern when you think about it. I mean, it’s great that they have been so awesome but it is hard to see them acting so grown up. It’s not normal to have to grow up so fast.
But it is a reality for so many kids today.
I just know that this cancer stuff was never in my game plan. When they were babies, I never once even entertained the thought that something could happen to me. I was just trying to keep the two of them alive, you know?!
I miss those two so much and I don’t like the quiet that has fallen over the house. I can’t wait for them to come home to us.
But I hope they are having the time of their lives.