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Jay Lake
Date: 2011-04-15 05:45
Subject: [child] She just keeps growing up
Security: Public
Tags:calendula, cancer, child, family, health, personal, portland, shellyrae
[info]the_child sings Papagena in her 7th grade class production of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute tonight. When I was in seventh grade, we were doing skits about a farmer and his horse. I cannot help but be impressed.

Recently, a high school friend who'd moved to Portland contacted me. We had lunch, and as a result, he, his wife and his daughter are planning to attend tonight. I had mentioned this to [info]the_child, so yesterday she asked me his name, looked him up on Facebook, and sent him a note introducing herself and telling him how pleased she was he would be coming to the opera, and that she was looking forward to meeting him and his family. This piece of social grace was utterly on her own initiative.

In another frame, the mother of one of her school friends is having a very difficult struggle with metastatic cancer. Though she has not shared her prognosis, hope is growing thin on the ground right now. Yesterday [info]the_child asked me, as she has once before, what her school friend would do without his mother. We had a long, thoughtful talk about cancer, death, parenting, love and community, but especially about the hopes of a parent for their child, and the needs of a child for their parent at the different stages of life. I didn't have any good answers to give her, because there aren't any in a time like this.

We also talked about what it meant to "fight" a disease. [info]the_child pointed out that both [info]calendula_witch and [info]shelly_rae had been instrumental in keeping me fighting when I was at my worst. We agreed that love and family were very important.

Who is this mature, reflective, loving human being, and what has she done with my daughter?

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User: dionysus1999
Date: 2011-04-15 12:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Research studies have shown that people without children are consistently ranked as happier than people with children.

However, I think the pride and amazement that children can bring into their parent's lives certainly makes up for it. Children also have the ability to help us find new perspective.

Forget the Army, being a parent is the toughest job you'll ever love.
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User: adelheid_p
Date: 2011-04-15 13:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think the best answer is that often the child finds someone or several someones (or someone steps up) to take the place of the missing parent. Sometimes it's a good friend's mom. Sometimes it's a teacher or guidance counselor or some other adult in the child's life/community. None of these are complete replacements for the special bond that happens between parents and the newborn baby but children are resourceful and resilient.

I know this is a tough conversation for you to have with your daughter.
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User: scarlettina
Date: 2011-04-16 04:32 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Sometimes it's no one at all but the child herself. I speak from experience. But sometimes, in those cases, the child in question has been provided with all the tools she needs. I suspect that, in the case of the_child this is most assuredly the case. And you know? It's clear she's not going to be a child for very much longer at all. Which is a lovely thing to see.
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User: adelheid_p
Date: 2011-04-16 15:52 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Indeed, this is somewhat true in my case as well, but I can say that I have had a few people, I've cultivated to fill the spaces I could not fill myself. I agree that the_child is growing up very nicely and exhibiting a wisdom beyond her years that will server her quite well. Every post about her is a leap!
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User: fledgist
Date: 2011-04-15 13:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That has to be one of the most difficult conversations a parent can have with a child. Certainly far more difficult than the one about sex. It seems to me that she has been brought up right.
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User: markbourne
Date: 2011-04-15 13:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
B. has always struck me as rather remarkable. She's at an age of head-snappingly swift transformations. Just brace yourself for further proud-papa moments as she reveals more of who she's becoming.

A small pleasure in living distant from my friends with children occurs when I travel and get to see those children who *aren't* quite so childrenish as the last time I visited them. Especially in the case of an old college buddy whose kids are now entering high school, I get to watch the babies grow by sudden and startling leaps into toddlers and then conversant, personality-filled school-age, then teens (with all that's attendant to the age), and ultimately mature adulthood (with all that's attendant to *that* age). It's a revealing and occasionally sobering form of time travel.

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User: joycemocha
Date: 2011-04-15 13:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
You are doing an amazing job with your child. And she is very bright and perceptive. Not surprising that she is becoming mature and reflective. Doesn't always stick during the synaptic pruning of adolescence, but hey, it comes back later. The fact that you see it now is incredible and good.
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User: shelly_rae
Date: 2011-04-15 14:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Oh I adore The Child. You may recall she and I spent a lot of time together--some of it was play, music, biking, climbing--but other times we talked. She asked questions about why you hurt, what chemo was doing to you. Why did you talk, yell, or scream in your sleep. Occasionally it frightened her. But she kept coming back.
She did it because she is full of love.
She did it because she loves you.


P.S. I wish I could see her perform. My best to her!
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mlerules: Maypole
User: mlerules
Date: 2011-04-15 15:43 (UTC)
Subject: Qx o' Day (Last Line)
You've gone well by her. Kudos to each and all of you (you, her, her mom, and t'tothers you surround her with and thus show to her as examples of how to live well and right).
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User: brownkitty
Date: 2011-04-15 18:26 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Who is this mature, reflective, loving human being, and what has she done with my daughter?

She's coming out of her chrysalis and spreading her wings.

Alternate answer: she is becoming how you treat her.

Third answer: you're finally getting to see her clearly.

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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2011-04-15 21:04 (UTC)
Subject: sms
I have been looking for the exact content like this. My day seems to be completed now. Now I can think of just one thing and that is commenting as a way of showing gratitude.And yes i have book mark your site jaylake.livejournal.com .
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Gary Emenitove
User: garyomaha
Date: 2011-04-15 22:04 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
the_child is a joy to observe as she grows up, but do not downplay the effect on your life that was brought about by a farmer and his horse.
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Kenneth Mark Hoover
User: kmarkhoover
Date: 2011-04-16 03:02 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This was very moving, thank you for sharing it with us.
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