A Conversation I Shouldn’t Have Had to Have

Emmy and I had just taken Lily to school. I left Emmy playing in my bedroom while I jumped in the shower. As I came into the bedroom to get dressed, Emmy paused in her playing and looked at me.

“Mommy, why do you have only one nipple?” she asked.

I was prepared for this question; her big sister had asked me that very same question when she was about Emmy’s age.

“I had cancer, and the doctors had to take it off,” I answered, as I started getting my underwear and bra on.

Emmy thought about this, and then she said, “Did they use a special scissors?”

How to answer that one?

“Close — the doctors used a special knife.” I suppose a scalpel is a kind of a knife.

Showing empathy with my close encounter with said knife, Emmy then asked, “Did it hurt?”

Well, I had been knocked out for the actual surgery. “No, the doctors made sure it didn’t hurt,” I told her, not wanting to go into all the pain I did feel after the surgery.

Emmy followed me into the bathroom. I smeared lotion on my face while Emmy peered up at me.

“Mom, I want to look like a kitty-cat today,” Emmy declared.

My children know what I look like. They know, and they love me just the same.

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7 Responses to A Conversation I Shouldn’t Have Had to Have

  1. You handled that marvelously! Reminds me a story I heard from Beth Moore who read it out of a book by Gilda Radner about a dog who lost a leg before she had puppies and her puppies who had all their legs learned to walk on three legs! Ha!

  2. Don't you love how kids don't make such a big deal. I've been asked some difficult ones too and come up with some good off the cuff answers, and then we move on. That's why I love kids. No need to dwell on it, let's move onto looking like a cat. I love it. And you handled the situation beautifully. It is good that your girls are already so aware.

  3. Perfect answer. Just acting like it is no big deal, when of course it is. She can know how big of a deal it is later on.

  4. You handled that wonderfully! Kids are so amazing because all they really know is unconditional love. I love how quick they move on too… from something so serious to being a kitty cat!

  5. I never actually gave this much thought but of course they would ask. I think you answered her in a wonderful way, giving her just enough without details that would scare her. You answered her questions and she was ready to be a kitty-cat.

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