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When Chronic Illness Keeps You From Enjoying the Summer With Your Children

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As I say goodnight to my kids the day before the new school year, I wonder, like most parents – where did the summer go?

This year, it rang louder in my head then ever before.

My chronic illness reared its ugly head at the beginning of June – and it was at that point I knew the summer with my children was stolen. The last weeks of school are a blur to me. I wasn’t able to help on class field trips, or socialize with friends and families before our long awaited breaks. I instead wasted my early summer days away traveling to and from the hospital, just trying to stay afloat with the stress and the mess it became. My husband, who works away quite often, left only two weeks before this crisis happened. I was alone, with my two kids, and fighting for my health – but more importantly their normalcy.

Reluctantly, I had to cancel our annual trip because of my illness. I had to stick close to home. I could see the sadness in their eyes when I told them, but I also saw great empathy. They knew I didn’t want to cancel either.

As my poor health crept into July, I tried my hardest to make their days bright. Pushing through the letdowns, and trying to be strong and playful with them.

The end of July saw improvement for me, but once again I was ripped away from them to participate in a out-of-country research study for my illness – a blessing really, but the guilt grew, and the resentment of missing out on the summer settled deep.

I rushed back, and tried to bask in the final two weeks with them. Playing outside, sitting in the sunshine and just reminiscing on how many amazing summers we had before – and how I yearn for this time with them again, and forever.

As I cuddle with my fifth grade son and kiss the forehead of my sweet 7-year-old boy, I wish for this to last forever. I want my stolen time back with my boys.

It is a true testament to appreciate the health that is given to you while you have it. Don’t let the stresses of everyday life make you forget what is truly important. Cherish every moment with your family. Play in the sun with them. Take long walks and talk about their favorite things. Cuddle on the couch and watch funny movies. Play those board games they beg you to play with them. Take those days off work and volunteer on that field trip. Bake the cookies. Eat the sundaes.

Most importantly, be silly with them. Let them remember those silly times more than the times you couldn’t be silly.

Getty Image by ChesiireCat

Originally published: September 15, 2018
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