“I want to eat candy, I want to be rich and to live in a castle”

And I want you to be well.  Genevieve, my baby girl – my only girl, all I want is for you to be well, to be healthy.  The road to recovery is not without its challenges and this journey is weighing on both of us.

Tell me about just how unfair life is . . . that you can’t eat candy whenever you want, that you want a house with your own room, your own bathroom, your own changing room, your own play room and your own room with a television, Netflix and no bedtime.  That you want to eat cookies and no vegetables.  I can handle all of these complaints.  So, I tell you that life is unfair for me, too.  That I don’t want to go to work.  I would rather stay home and play with you all day.  You give me that beautiful smile and for a moment, I feel peace.

The true struggle is not the size of the beloved “blue house” that we call home.  It is that you cannot yet go off to school with your brother.  That you are forced to work one-on-one with a tutor while Harry plays on the iPad.  It is that I limit the public places that you can visit and that I am constantly telling you to rest and drink more water.

Fighting me on taking your aspirin a day exhausts me.  “Why?  Why do I have to take the aspirin?  What happens if I don’t take it?”  Telling her that it prevents blood clots and a heart attack isn’t a conversation for a 7 year old.  Nothing about this is for a child.  I tell her that if she doesn’t take it, that she could get sick.  I can see the wheels turning, “how sick?” as she weighs whether or not it is worth skipping.  This is not a negotiation – Genevieve takes it because I said so.

As much as she tells me she is better and should be allowed to return to life, there are still too many moments that remind me that recovery is a journey and we cannot skip forward.  It is when all color drains from her face, her eyes lose their sparkle and she stops talking a mile a minute.  When she complains that her body aches, that her head hurts, that she feels nauseous or dizzy.   Genevieve, it’s okay to push your limits just listen to me when I beg you to pause.

Then there is the night – when her mind works through all that she does not have the words to express.  It is as if she is haunted.  Sleep walking, talking, nightmares and more.   I remind her that she is not alone.  That she will never be alone and if she needs me that she can come and find me.  I will snuggle with her on the bottom bunk and spend the night listening to her breathe.  As the terror takes over, I will place my hand on her back and push the fear away.

While a castle, being rich and candy every day sounds nice, all I want is for my Harry & Genevieve to be healthy and happy.




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