When I had only one child, my young preschooler Evelyn, I needed to have some very serious surgery.
As a good parent I wanted to prepare her, so I went to the library. There were books about “Mom is Dead” (no, didn’t need that one YET), and “Mom is going to Prison” (no, hoped I would never need that one), and “Mom likes to Drink” (what mom doesn’t?). There were no “Mom is going to have surgery to look at a tumor that may or may not mean dad will need to check out the book ‘Mom is Dead.”
My daughter’s godmother, good godmother that she was, sent along a Playmobile surgery play set. Evelyn had a great time operating on “mommy”. I would not enjoy hearing “And now I’m cutting mommy up in lots of pieces with the knife!”. She sure loved to play with that surgery set.
I arranged lots of play dates. My husband assured me he would take her out for Thanksgiving dinner to a local restaurant, since my hospital stay was going to include that holiday. I was sure to have lots of talks about just why she couldn’t come visit me, but that I could talk to her on the phone. My own local family doctor did not recommend she come visit as he said “You aren’t going to look very good for a few days.”
My daughter remained very upbeat right up until the surgery. She then presented me with 2 drawings to hang up in my hospital room to “make it pretty”.
I’m glad that I am shown with a big smile, like having surgery is a lot of fun!
This is the same daughter that whenever we would fly, she would pull out the laminated safety card and remark “Wouldn’t it be great if we crash over the ocean so we can all go on these life rafts?” Her “gift” was in saying this to the person sitting near us with the biggest fear of flying. I never knew how she knew, but she would always scare the heck out of people with flying phobias. She loved to read that laminated card out LOUD (and she was an early reader).
She knew she would need the laminated card, as I am a poor flying and would often get air sick. She would then fan me with the laminated card and even knew how to ask the stewards for “ginger ale for mommy, she is not a good flyer.” Her faith, in both surgery and flying, was complete.
I am glad that her godmother and other adults in her young life were able to prepare her for mommy’s big operation. Sadly, Evelyn and daddy ended up eating frozen fish sticks for Thanksgiving. He found out that all the restaurants in our small town were closed for Thanksgiving. Evelyn was as fond of fish sticks as turkey, so she didn’t mind.
The operation was big, but turned out fine. I’m still alive today, and missing only a few body parts that the surgeon felt I would be better off without. Good news all around, except I still didn’t enjoy listening to her play with the Playmobile surgery set, even after my surgery was done.