Last week, my two-year-old Serenity caught me off guard, as she often does at this impressionable age. I’m always amazed by the new things that she learns and absorbs on a daily basis. But I wasn’t prepared for what she said on this day.
While dressing for our annual peewee football Pink-Out event, Serenity pointed to the pink ribbon on my Team Roxy shirt and announced in a matter-of-fact tone: “Pink ribbon is for breast cancer.” For the past year, Serenity has referred to the pink ribbon, the universal symbol for breast cancer, as “mommy’s pink ribbon.”
When I heard the words “breast cancer” come out of her two-year-old mouth, I felt an overwhelming sadness come over me. No two-year-old should know those words. I questioned whether breast cancer had encroached on the first two years of my daughter’s life. In addition to undergoing chemotherapy with me in utero, Serenity had been accompanying me to oncology check-ups, surgeon appointments and breast cancer awareness events since birth.
I contemplated my feelings and checked my emotions for the next few days. I thought back to the letters that I wrote to Serenity while she was in my womb. I recalled how I wanted her to know our journey, even if I was no longer around to share it with her. I wanted her to know how breast cancer had impacted our lives and how much her mommy had worked to fight the awful disease so that it might not interrupt her life the way it did mine.
Slowly, my sadness turned to content. I take comfort in knowing that Serenity’s awareness of this disease will make her an incredible advocate for breast cancer patients and survivors one day. I realized that, even at two years old, Serenity could now tell the world about our journey. And the best part is that I’m still here to share it with her.
Tips on Talking to Children about Breast Cancer via Living Beyond Breast Cancer
Parents going through cancer need support all around via USA Today
How Mom Can Tell Kids About Breast Cancer via Parenting.com