When our daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor a little over a year ago, we entered a new world - Sick Kid World. Sick Kid World is very different than the world I was living in before. While I would give anything to have never had to enter this world, I am grateful for the lessons I've learned and the bonds I've formed here.
In Sick Kid World, the parents are all supportive of each other. No one cares about bottle feeding vs. breast feeding, cloth diapers vs. disposables, spankings vs. time outs. We live in a world of life vs. death. If your child is making it, keep doing what works. We don't judge and we don't make fun of one another. We are supportive. We uplift. We encourage.
In Sick Kid World, the parents allow themselves to not be perfect. We don't have time or energy to keep up with the Joneses. Instead, we try our hardest to do all we have to do and try not to stress the rest. If someone comes by the house and dishes are piled in the sink, it's ok, it's life. If we never do a Pinterest craft, we're okay with that. Our families eat three meals a day but a few of those might be takeout. And, we may rarely wear make-up, jewelry, or real clothes, but we often wear a smile.
In Sick Kid World, others around us show us love. We get cards from friends and family but also complete strangers. We have a prayer network that is bigger than our friend network. When people learn that we have a child who is sick, they offer to help in any way they can. People are kind. Kinder than they ever have been before.
In Sick Kid World, the kids are kids. Often, as parents we say, "don't play with that", "don't do that", "don't run", "don't talk too much", "don't, don't, don't". In a world where our children spend too much time in hospitals and at doctor appointments, we cut them some slack to be kids. And it's not only the parents but others around them. I often have people from church come and tell me, "we love hearing your children play during church". Normally, noisy children can be seen as a distraction or annoyance but when people know of a sick child's story, they smile when they hear them laughing, playing, or even fighting with their brother.
I've formed the strongest bonds of my life with other members of Sick Kid World. In our previous lives, our paths may never have crossed and we may not have had much to talk about. In Sick Kid World, we strip away everything that matters in the "real world" and we are just our real, raw selves. We talk about more than just our sick children. We talk about the blessings we see around us, the things in our lives we are grateful for, and the hope we all share. We celebrate together and we grieve together. We are the truest form of real.
So yes, I have a sick kid, but I am richly blessed. My world is loving, supportive, kind, and encouraging. I wish that described everyone's world.