Our grandson hurled a new book at me one day last week and sat down hard in my lap, his way of saying, “Read to me!”. I think reading to children is always kind of magical, everyone sits close to see the pictures and no one gets into trouble, and there’s always a happy ending. That’s a request I never want to refuse, so we opened up the board book and began.
The story was about a family bravely hunting for a bear, and all the obstacles they encounter along the way; a thick forest and oozy mud, for example. After a couple of pages a familiar pattern emerges as each time they approach the hardship the same way:
we can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, oh no! we’ve got to go through it!
These words quickly became a cadence and I and was struck by how this board book is imitating life right now. You see, the week before Christmas I was diagnosed with breast cancer. We’re still in the testing phase to understand exactly what this entails, but the next step is definitely surgery. There is nothing to negotiate or compromise here, no talking my way out of it or putting it off to see what happens. Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, oh no, we’ve got to go through it.
We didn’t make it through the entire book because 15 month olds cannot be expected to sit still for that long. I wanted to see how the story ended for that family, but we were off to play in the tent and had to leave the rest for another time. Unlike the characters in the book, I would not have chosen this adventure, but with the support of family and friends, I’m going to walk right through it and expect a happy ending.