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Why It's Time to Stop Comparing My Son With Leukemia to Others

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Say what? Stop comparing? Isn’t that what it means to be human? We compare ourselves to others, our spouses to others and our kids to others, wondering who’s smarter, better looking or more advanced. You may sit there reading this and think you don’t, but it seems like everyone has one little nerve (or a thousand) inside them that compares. But today, today is the day we stop. Or at least make it right.

Jaclyn Nees's son

My son was diagnosed with leukemia when he was only 4 months old. As a first-time mom, his first four months were filled with concern on whether he was meeting his milestones. There was happiness when he did and delight when he was called advanced. But then he was diagnosed, and the world around me crumbled. His milestones came to a halt, and we were just excited when he made it through the day.

Fast forward to now, I have an amazing, smart and beautiful 2-year-old boy whose smile can light up a room and laughter can make you smile through tears, although he is small, unable to walk yet and doesn’t talk much.

People have been asking me for the past two years when he will turn a year old, and it used to pain me when I said he was 2. I used to feel everyone was judging my motherly skills, wondering how a 2-year-old couldn’t walk or talk yet. I used to watch other kids — 8 or 9 months old — just waddling along without any help and already saying five or six words. I used to talk to his doctors in tears wondering when it was going to be his turn. But with all things, all he needs is time.

That’s all anyone really needs, isn’t it? Time to grow. Time to heal. Time to prosper. Instead of wondering when he’s going to do these things and getting offended when people ask me if he’s 11 months, I proudly say he’s 2. We’re so lucky he’s here to be 2. So lucky he’s not cooped up in a hospital room, watching the days pass through a window. So lucky he’s here to continue his treatment (though it can aid in his delays) and to end it soon so he can finally grow, heal and prosper.

Everyone has a unique story so comparing is irrelevant. Comparing him to other kids is like apples to onions. Even kids going through the same thing aren’t comparable because they all experience different side effects. I would never compare myself to another mother, whether she’s cancer mom or not because everything we go through is different.

So, stop comparing. Cut yourself some slack. Cut your loved ones some slack. And love yourself and them with everything you got. Tomorrow is a blessing when you get to wake up in it.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: April 20, 2016
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