It is not always fun to drive several hours to Cincinnati Children's Hospital every few weeks. It is not always pleasant to be in the room when Clare is getting her port accessed, or when she hasn't eaten for 12 hours for fasting labs, or when she is being sedated for an MRI. It is not always enjoyable to sit in waiting rooms for hours. But, it is downright difficult to not be there at all.
This week Chris and Clare ventured to Cincinnati, while Maren and I stayed home. I needed to show up to work, and Maren needed to catch up on some Peppa Pig. (Spoiler Alert: They jump in muddy puddles; Peppa goes on holiday; and George loses his dinosaur.)
Clare only has to go to the hospital twice a month. But those days when we are not able to all be together at the hospital are hard. It is hard to not be in the room where we color, paint, craft, and hand out silly giveaways to nurses. It is hard not to be in the room when her doctors examine her. It is hard to not be in the room when the doctors share their reassurances or concerns. It is hard to be 250 miles away and not in the room with Clare.
I was feeling sorry for myself.
Then I recalled reading about so many families facing a cancer diagnosis who are leading separate lives. One parent is literally living in the hospital (potentially hundreds of miles away from home) with their cancer kiddo, while the other parent is responsible for going to work, getting kids on the school bus, and taking out the garbage. The thing about having a child with cancer is that even though your life seems to stop when they are diagnosed, nothing else does.
We have it so good. And it is still hard.
Maybe the room where it happens isn't always in the hospital. I want to recognize those parents who are not always able to be at the hospital. Those parents are in the office supporting their family; They are on the sidelines watching their other child's soccer game; They are in the kitchen making dinner or packing lunches. Whichever room you are in, you are doing a great job.