Sunday, June 02, 2013

Evan at 47 months

47 months

One day a few weeks ago when I was putting Evan down for his nap, I said, "I love you, buddy. Have a good nap." He replied, "I love you too, Mom. I love that your hair's all gone. I love that I can see your ears!" I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so I left the room and did both. The change in my physical experience since starting chemo has been difficult for me. Looking in the mirror at my bald head and thinning eyebrows and lashes, I hardly recognize myself. While I feel conspicuous and self-conscious when I'm out in public, sometimes it's harder to face myself in the mirror than it is to walk through a crowd wearing a headscarf. So I take heart that Evan sees me . . . and my ears. Evan also loves to kiss my "bump"--my chemo port site located just below my collar bone--and usually says, "There, you'll be better, Mom." While I wish he could kiss away my cancer, his tenderness goes a long way in helping me feel better.

classic evan face

When he's not being heartbreakingly charming and hilarious, Evan is, um, up to something else. Whenever we visit a playground or go to the ball field, Evan makes friends. He'll find someone to race up and down the slide with or play hide-and-seek or kick a ball. Recently, at one of Tobin's baseball games he made friends with a couple ten-year-old girls and followed them around on their adventures. I stayed home for that game and Matt texted me to report: "I just climbed 20 feet up to pull Evan out of a tree!" I had to read that text like three times before I comprehended what I was reading. I've never seen Evan climb a tree but apparently he scaled this one pretty easily. Fortunately, he didn't make it as high as the older kids.

bridging the gap

At another ball game, Evan kept asking Matt to play catch with him but Matt explained he wanted to watch the game plus it wasn't safe to play so close to the bleachers since he might accidentally hit someone with the ball. So Evan smartly wandered down the adjacent hill and played catch with himself by throwing the ball against the side of the hill and scooping it up with the glove as it rolled back. He got very into it, cheering for himself with each "catch." Later in the game, he followed some other kids to play with some old tires on a huge mulch pile. (The conditions of the middle-school field where Tobin plays most his games leave something to be desired.) I asked him to stop playing with the tires and come back closer where we could watch him. He whined a little but came back over to the hill to play catch by himself. We have to keep a close eye on him, but when he wants to, he can be quite cooperative and creative.

sibling swing

Of course, Evan is uniquely positioned to enjoy two very special playmates: his brother and sister. He's big and strong enough to race bikes and play basketball with his Tobin after he gets home from school. And he's still young enough to enjoy playing with Lauren during their days at home together. Several times a day now, I hear him say "Lala, let me show you somethin'!" and he tries to teach her how to explore her world Evan-style. The other day, he showed her how to go down the slide backwards and jump off a swing. I had to intervene when he tried to show her how to use a swing as a skateboard. She loves to follow him around on these adventures. They don't always get along but they can be a sweet pair, especially when Evan takes on the role of protective big brother. On a recent walk, as their path approached a busy street, he instructed: "Lala, hold my hand!" And she did.

'hold my hand, lala.'

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