A Conversation I Shouldn’t Have Had to Have

Emmy and I had just taken Lily to school. I left Emmy playing in my bedroom while I jumped in the shower. As I came into the bedroom to get dressed, Emmy paused in her playing and looked at me.

“Mommy, why do you have only one nipple?” she asked.

I was prepared for this question; her big sister had asked me that very same question when she was about Emmy’s age.

“I had cancer, and the doctors had to take it off,” I answered, as I started getting my underwear and bra on.

Emmy thought about this, and then she said, “Did they use a special scissors?”

How to answer that one?

“Close — the doctors used a special knife.” I suppose a scalpel is a kind of a knife.

Showing empathy with my close encounter with said knife, Emmy then asked, “Did it hurt?”

Well, I had been knocked out for the actual surgery. “No, the doctors made sure it didn’t hurt,” I told her, not wanting to go into all the pain I did feel after the surgery.

Emmy followed me into the bathroom. I smeared lotion on my face while Emmy peered up at me.

“Mom, I want to look like a kitty-cat today,” Emmy declared.

My children know what I look like. They know, and they love me just the same.

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7 Replies to “A Conversation I Shouldn’t Have Had to Have”

  1. I never actually gave this much thought but of course they would ask. I think you answered her in a wonderful way, giving her just enough without details that would scare her. You answered her questions and she was ready to be a kitty-cat.

  2. You handled that wonderfully! Kids are so amazing because all they really know is unconditional love. I love how quick they move on too… from something so serious to being a kitty cat!

  3. Perfect answer. Just acting like it is no big deal, when of course it is. She can know how big of a deal it is later on.

  4. Don't you love how kids don't make such a big deal. I've been asked some difficult ones too and come up with some good off the cuff answers, and then we move on. That's why I love kids. No need to dwell on it, let's move onto looking like a cat. I love it. And you handled the situation beautifully. It is good that your girls are already so aware.

  5. You handled that marvelously! Reminds me a story I heard from Beth Moore who read it out of a book by Gilda Radner about a dog who lost a leg before she had puppies and her puppies who had all their legs learned to walk on three legs! Ha!

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