Chemotherapy Cycle #1, Days 10-11
We still haven't taken the children much of anywhere during this first chemotherapy cycle as we "get our sea legs." During Days 8-11, Thomas isn't allowed to go anywhere because his immune system is at its lowest, so we all continued hanging out as a family, much as we have been since early spring!
Saturday was a Big Day of Chores as I had so many tasks to catch up on. By the afternoon, much of the kids' weekly chores and my big tasks were complete, so I gathered everyone together to open up the Three Huge Boxes of Usbourne Books sent to us by our whole extended family in Buffalo, New York.
So many folks had pitched in to fund a big order of books for us and then I was invited to pick the titles myself.
The children could hardly believe their eyes. It was humorous and heartwarming to me to see particular children grab particular titles that I had just known would be perfect for this or that kid. "I'm reading this one first!" "Oh, this one is definitely for me!"
John (13) nabbed up the books on economics, government, and history.
Mary (11) gravitated to the writing kit and has written several short stories already.
Margaret (9) began reading "Around the World in Eighty Days" and is greatly enthused about the art appreciation books. Both girls have been liking doing the sticker dolls from different fashion eras.
Joseph (7) and Thomas (4) have been fascinated with the science and nature books, Joseph reading them on his own (!) and Thomas bringing them to us to read aloud.
I put sticker books and activity books up for safety to use on many future clinic days, hospital days, or nauseated days.
I don't know what the fall homeschooling will look like with Thomas still experiencing cancer treatment, but I do know I could just assign my children to read tons of high-quality books (and do some math) daily and they would do just fine.
We finished our day with swimming, dinner, rosary, and a family movie night. These back-to-basics times of the last few months may not be thrilling, but they are so good for our souls and for building our relationships. For those families reading whose activities all came to a screeching halt due to coronavirus lockdowns, have you found spiritual fruit in the slower lifestyle?
Come Sunday morning, a mole was found deceased on the property, announced to me by numerous children coming screaming into the house, slamming the door behind them, with the alert.
John has been our resident funeral director for small critters for most of his life and today I decided that Joseph needs to apprentice at the job. John has a real soft spot for critters so he doesn't necessarily want to give this job up, but I said seven-year-old boys get to have turns at burying animals, too!
He chose to bury the mole at the foot of St. Francis, which seemed appropriate.
Then I actually got to attend Mass! I had the great honor of being a Sponsor for a young lady having her Confirmation into the Catholic Church today. We had been planning to stay home as an entire family during Thomas's Days 8-11, so I asked our oncologist if it was prudent for me to attend. He gave his blessing, so to speak, as long as I practiced social distancing as best I could, wore a mask, did not stay for any reception, and washed my hands (always!)--all of which sounded sensible to me.
I can't wait to share photos of the Confirmation when they are emailed out to us in a few days!
The Sunday became a little bit complicated because Chris and another gentleman were granted a fifteen-minute audience immediately after the Mass with the Bishop to discuss the Charlotte Latin Mass Community and its needs. What an honor and a responsibility! We hatched a plan that I would drive my own car to Mass, then Chris would load up all the children and drive to Mass as it was getting out. I would depart Mass immediately and without delay, switch places with him at the car, and leave him to meet with the Bishop before driving home in the car I left behind. It worked!
Even though Thomas understands his compromised immune system and that he would not be allowed out of the car, he chose to put on his Mass clothing (sans shoes) just to be dressed appropriately for sitting in the parking lot of the church. He has said for the last two years, "I want to dress like a man!"
Back at home, with nowhere to rush off to and nothing to do but enjoy a family afternoon, I baked cookies with five assistants, which was, shall we say, very loud.
Thomas drew numerous sketches today and wrote a letter to a friend. Joseph chiseled a holy face of Jesus into a stone while Thomas began building a toy house out of wood for his little brother David. They made a mess, but that was well worth the creativity. We grilled burgers and dogs, went swimming, read aloud Narnia, prayed rosary, and that was a wrap!
Bonus ReadingI do not know what attending Mass will look like for our family week to week as Thomas's immune system reduced. I do foresee that often I will be keeping my younger crew (7 and below) home from Mass to keep them from bringing illnesses around Thomas. Therefore, I am going to be looking for ways to keep them liturgically active. We might live stream the Mass. We might read the propers and make a spiritual communion. Another idea is to color in these beautiful pictures coordinated to the Gospel Readings of the week!
- Extraordinary form Mass: https://www.ccwatershed.org/2020/07/04/ef-gospel-illustrations/
- Novus Ordo Mass: I'm told that she offers these illustrations as well. If someone can find me the link, I will post it here, but I couldn't find it.