the kids are alright

i haven’t posted as much recently, i know. it’s not just that this public place to discuss my disease seems less relevant now that my disease is under control – and will hopefully remain so for a long, long time. a few months ago, i wasn’t writing because i was in an awfully dark place, and it was difficult to share that. this wasn’t the only venue where that held true; i wouldn’t return phone calls or emails and i felt more or less dead to the world. it sucked. it truly and completely sucked, and i didn’t feel like i would ever be in a better place.

but now i have a much better reason for not posting regularly. my schedule is now predominantly spent caring for young children, and i couldn’t be happier. when i moved back to the bay after college, my godmother generously offered me a position as a full-time preschool teacher. i used to joke that my degree in political science was surprisingly relevant – conflict resolution, power dynamics and negotiation help greatly in successfully navigating the peaks and valleys of childcare. i helped to oversee the potty training of ten children (a fact which i still include on my professional resumé) and my urine-stained, poopy-smelling years with the kids were some of the happiest of my life – though the time was marred by my significant injuries after drunkenly stumbling off of a second story balcony. one day i threw my damaged back out while positioning mats for naptime, and the rest of the afternoon i was cared for by an army of preschool-aged nurses who brought me water and puzzles and books to read.

as i attempt a return to normalcy, i face the challenge of working with a body ravaged by surgery and treatment, one that will forever be immuno-compromised. no matter how diligently i care for myself, i’m going to get sick. i’m going to have days where fatigue and weakness limit my abilities and choices. i could be hospitalized at any time, and i still have regular appointments even as my obligations to see my oncologist become less frequent. a full-time job would be difficult, if not impossible, and i’ve spent very little of my professional life in that sort of setting.

just before christmas, i reached out to a handful of families letting them know i was available. and now i’m scheduled weekly with three families and a fourth in negotiation, with children aged two to eight. another joke i used while teaching preschool was that it gave me a chance to spend time with my emotional peers – while there are lots of ways i’m an old man (i play bridge, i enjoy scotch, i’m on social security, i own two canes), i like to think i’m still a child at heart. though i don’t have professional training or a degree in early childhood education, i’ve always been comfortable with kids. i was raised by ministers and from an early age was surrounded by children of all ages, and at age nine was gifted a new sibling (happy accident number three!).

given the intensity of the last few years – this coming april it’ll be five years since my diagnosis (what?!?) – it’s such a gift to be able to spend time with kids again. their sense of wonder with the world, the joy of discovery, the simplicity of their world; their marvelous minds are a restorative balm for my weary soul.

so if i haven’t posted in a while and you’re wondering what i’m doing: i’m probably playing hide-and-seek.

2 Responses to “the kids are alright”

  1. planned child says:

    excuse me but i was planned…at least by one of our parents.