I woke up super early this morning, unable to go back to sleep, because you are weighing so heavily on my mind and in my heart. There has been a change in you in recent days. It's not necessarily a bad change, but I can sense a true shift in your attitude about many things and just in your being. With the exception of one rowdy backyard swim session with your brothers (what must our neighbors think of us?!?), you have been quiet--VERY un-Goliath-like. You've been pleasant and compliant--not that you aren't usually delightful, but let's be honest: you typically don't think twice before loudly and passionately sharing your opinions. About everything.
So my mom senses have been on heightened alert. You're not running fever. You don't have a rash. You are sleeping well at night and eating well during the day. You assure me that you feel fine. But as I've asked you more pointed questions, the answers have become a little more jumbled. At bedtime a few nights ago, after we'd said your prayers together, I asked you simply if everything is OK with you (I ask that often, hoping that in a few more years when you've morphed into the dreaded teenager, that we will have established good communication and you will know it is fine to tell your old mom anything.). You were silent for a moment, and then you said, "Mama, are you going to feel better tomorrow?"
This last round of chemotherapy has been beyond miserable. For all of us. I now know why so many patients quit before they can finish the regimen: it makes you feel like you'd be better off to just let the cancer have its way with you. I have done everything I could think of to keep you and your brothers from witnessing me at my worst, but I know I can't truly keep you away from what is happening right under your noses. The only way to do that would be to keep you away. Period. And none of us, most of all me, want that.
You have been so tender and gentle with me. Although we haven't really discussed it, you know that I am suffering. I know you know, because I could feel the compassion in your 8-year-old hands when you helped me up off the floor after our Uno game. I could hear the concern in your voice when you asked if you could get me anything. I could see the worry in your eyes when you came in the bedroom to check on me. And I could almost reach out and touch the longing when you curled up beside me on my bed yesterday--a longing for better days and a normal, healthy mom.
Over and over again, I have prayed for you. Long before The Sickness invaded our happy home, I was asking God to draw you close to Him. I have prayed that you would have an understanding of who He is and what you need, and that you would learn to love Him and walk with Him. With my diagnosis, my prayers expanded. I began asking God to protect your mind and your heart from anger and bitterness, and to give you wisdom beyond your years so you would still be able to seek and find Jesus. I feel like now you are at a pivotal point in a journey you may not be fully aware you are on. You have tough questions that prick my heart. You are certainly justified in asking them, but it makes me angry that the innocence of your childhood--what Daddy and I have wanted so much to preserve and protect for you--is scuffed up by such a hard, unfair thing. I feel so sad when I think that when you and Little Middle and Baby grow up and look back on being little boys, your memories will always be marked in some way by me being a cancer patient.
But even that, sweet son, is not beyond God's control or out of His reach. The two things I tell you repeatedly about God--that He is good and that nothing happens to us without Him knowing and caring--don't really fit for you right now. Honestly, they don't really mesh together for me that well, either. BUT..."I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God." (Romans 8:38-39) Not cancer. Not fear. Not broken routines and uncertain futures. Not questions. NOTHING can separate you from the God who made you so well and loves you so much.
One more thing, Goliath. Every night, when the house is still and quiet, I sneak into your room. I make sure you are covered up, and I breathe a prayer of thanks that I got to be your mother. God could have chosen anyone else for you (I'm sure sometimes you wish He had!), but He picked me. I sometimes still can't believe it. I know I'm not perfect, but if love alone could make a good mom, I'd be the best on the planet. Never, ever doubt that I love you. I promise that I will always do my best for you, even when I'm not sure what the best thing is. And I promise that I will continue to teach you about our good God, and I will "...pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power...to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fulness of God." (Ephesians 3:18-19)
And to answer your question from last night, YES. I would love to spend some more time with you.