We had made it through a delicious dinner, and were devouring pie and family scripture study when Nathan discovered a pair of sunglasses in Five’s pocket.


Obviously, they were not his, and he was frozen in some obvious guilt.

We calmly asked where he got them, giving him the chance to confess or explain himself.

“Maybe they are mine?” he asked.

“False,” I said, pointing to the time out spot.

He got up, with his head hanging low in shame, the way his biological father does, and walked to time out without protest.

This is part of cancer: that rules are still rules. We have worked hard to maintain “normal”, though sometimes have given special treats or had special activities to make up for scary things or missed time or because-this-is-all-Mama-can-do or because-this-is-the-only-time-Mama-is-awake. But one thing we have already discovered is that rules still have to be rules, even if Mama is sick.

And if there is anything that will turn Mama into a bear, it is lying. I have seen the destruction it causes, and warn them against it. Lying is always an automatic time out.

And he knows it.

While he sat there in ear shot, Nathan and I continued taking our turns reading, without him now, turning family study into couple study, and finishing dessert.

We cleaned the table off, and waited for his five minute timer to finish.

I talked to Five while Nathan took the toddler to the potty. This is our normal. This has nothing to do with cancer, except that I still can’t lift her on or off the potty, so Nathan is a trouper as our toddler continues potty training and has to go every hour, which means that is Nathan’s job for at least four more weeks.

I asked Five if he was ready now to tell me the story of the sunglasses, and he said, “oh, yes, Mama.”

“Tell me.”

“I am true, Mama. And the story is that the sunglasses were just sitting there and I do not know whose they are and maybe I took them so they could be mine but they are not mine so it was a bad choice and not very smart of me.”

I thanked him for telling me the truth, and told him to go put on his pajamas and brush his teeth and think about what will happen next.

He left, Nathan brought the toddler to me to say good night, and I did a few dishes.

Because sometimes I can stand up a little while. Some little things I can wash and put away, and some little things I can get in the dishwasher without bending over too much.

This is a moment about cancer. I move slowly and carefully. I try not to be frustrated, and for sure do not complain, mostly because I am glad to be doing anything out of my sick bed, even if it is dishes.

Five comes back in his pajamas, and tells me he knows the sunglasses have to go back to the learning center tomorrow, and that tonight he will “pray for the forgiveness of my life.”

We try not to laugh.

He is so, so funny.

Nathan walks with him to tuck him into bed, and stays for his prayer, which went like this:

Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you that I can go back to the learning center tomorrow. Thank you that I can take the sunglasses back tomorrow. Thank you that I can tell my teacher that I took the sunglasses and that I am sorry. Thank you that she can say it is okay and I can keep them.
Except they are not mine so thank you that maybe the sunglasses belong to a first grader.
Or a second grader.
Or a third grader.
Or a fourth grader.
Or a fifth grader.
Or a sixth grader.
Or a seventh grader.
Or an eighth grader.
Or a ninth grader.
Or a tenth grader.
In the name of Jesus Christ,

I really love that kid.

And before I could finish typing this, he was already asleep, with spider man hanging upside down from the bunk above him.

He really, really cracks me up.


Posted in Family permalink

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Sunglasses — 2 Comments

  1. I really love you all. I read your words and I think between the lines, and my heart squeezes tight and moves up into my throat so I can’t breath very well, but I am thankful that you express your pain and blessings so beautifully and allow me to share. Thank you. Keep posting pictures.:-)