In April, 2010, when Andrew was 2 1/2, a tumor was discovered behind his eye. The tumor was removed, but it was found to be an aggressive cancer. He endured seven months of chemo and six weeks radiation. In December of 2010, the day after his last treatment, he was rushed to the ER with an almost fatal bacterial infection. He survived.

He is now seven-years-old!! I don't visit here much, because during the ordeal, this is where I dumped everything--my rage, my fear, my sadness, my ugly, my hope, my everything. But I want all of you who supported and prayed for us to hear his updates. You helped me survive, and I am deeply thankful. Every once in awhile, I will check in to let you know how he's doing. Please continue to pray that cancer will never return to his body. Thank you.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Conference #1: "Hello, Mrs. Julie. Thanks for coming. So good to see you again (cough). You know, he initially tested into this class, but I am afraid that may have been a mistake. A big mistake. Have you seen his math homework? His current skill level is not where we expected it would be. I think for next year we may need to discuss a more appropriate placement for him. Oh, and you know how I said he was doing so well socially? Well, I'm sorry to tell you that he has been having some difficulty in circle time....and some at recess."  Me: "Oh. Okay." Sad face.


Conference #2:  "Well, Mrs. Julie, so glad you could make it today. We have a lot to talk about, and are so glad we have this time to sit down and discuss.  Have you noticed how often he uses the word, "poop?"  I mean, it is every other word, the "other" word being "butt."  Have you made any attempts to curb this behavior?  Do you realize that every boy in the class has adopted the word "buttchick" because of him?  Truly.  The other parents are complaining.  We haven't been successful in decreasing his potty talk at school, so we are hoping that you will do your part at home.  We need him to cease this disruptive vocabulary."  I sit there, red-faced, saying, "I'm sorry.  I know.  I will try."

These were the conversations I imagined, sitting in the hallways, waiting for the teachers to open their doors.  It is amazing how anxiety-producing conferences can be.  Even when there has been no previous indication of any problem, I worry.  Do you?

Conference #1 (reality): When the door opened, here she was:

(I wish I could show you her face, because her hair and make-up were great. But I don't want to put her picture out there without her knowledge.)

"Welcome," she said, in her best Johnny Depp/Mad Hatter impression.  (It was "dress as your favorite book character" day.) When you are sitting across from a teacher with red streaky make-up and an odd top hat, it takes the edge off.  And then, of course, it helped when she said that he is doing just fine.  "His math is great.  His reading is great.  His writing has greatly improved.  He is doing well socially.  He is well-behaved. Just make sure he keeps writing over the summer."  Me: Smiling, and looking over at my sweet and worried son, whom she also invited into the room.  "Good job, buddy, love you," I whisper.  My heart is relieved, the anxiety is lifted.

Conference #2 (reality).  "He is so smart.  He knows all of his numbers, letters, and sounds.  He can count to 100, he can count by 5's, he can....  He likes to be silly in class, but most of the boys are the same way.  This is preschool, we expect that.  He will do wonderfully in Kindergarten."  (No mention of poop or butts.)  I breath a sigh of relief, ask a few questions, and walk, smiling to the car.

Every time.  The same old worries.  Each time, for naught. 

I forget to step back, and view my whole child, and his whole environment.  I forget to put things in perspective.

Sometimes teachers, friends, and family help me see the bigger picture, even when I cannot see it for myself. 

Simple BPM


  1. Oh yes. I know this mental spinning out. I do it to myself nearly every time someone requests "a talk." Rarely is there ever a real problem (you know, because some of the "problems" are ones I don't care about).

    Love your photos!

  2. This cracked me up. I was totally believing you, freaking about my sons use of "butt". Thanks for the heart attack!
    I should have known your kids would be wonderful. That mad hatter outfit is the BOMB!

  3. What an awesome bigger picture moment! Sometimes I lose perspective, too. It's hard to see from the close vantage point of mom.
    {Also, your sons' teacher is SO creative! How fun for him.}
    Thanks for linking up, and sending this reminder to take a step back.

  4. Being a homeschooler (for the most part) I don't always have someone who'll let me know that I'm doing okay with them, so I worry. But, when I do get feedback from teachers or others, it's always been good. That's nice.

    However, I've never met a teacher dressed as the Mad Hatter. I would have loved a teacher like that! Your boys are lucky. :)

  5. "Buttchick" made me laugh right out! So glad the conferences didn't go as badly as you thought they would. Although you had me worried for a moment there. But then I thought: hey, Evan's not doing too bad then after all if Julie's boys say "poop" a lot and can't sit still... I'm in good company! Then you have to ruin my illusion with your well-behaved boys and great achievement. *sigh* I guess that'll be me next year!

  6. i was SO surprised and shocked when i read the first conferences...until i saw they were imagined. ha! don't we always assume the worst? but sometimes i think it's better, in a way, because then we feel reassured to find out we're doing all right. it would be much worse the other way around...

    not that i know about the school/kid thing yet, but just about life in general. i'm a natural worrier/over-thinker and ryan always says, "worry is like a rocking chair. it gives you something to do but doesn't get you anywhere"

    he is smart, that one.

  7. I just LOVE your stories!
    Thanks so much for sharing!


  8. This is a FUNNY post!! Ahhhh.... something else to worry about someday!! :)

  9. Oh, those first two conference examples were all set up for me to think, 'Thank goodness this mother has imperfect kids...because I do too!"

    But I GUESS it's nice that your kids are wonderful :) (Because mine are, too :))

    This is a perfect bigger picture moment and so true: our worries will almost always outstrip our reality. That perspective is so vital to keeping cool in the meantime. Loved this post!

  10. Yeah, you faked me out too. I was reading the first two interviews thinking - oh crap, Julie doesn't need this right now.

    Phew. Thankful (though not surprised) that your boys are doing great!

    Our interviews are at the end of the month. I'm sure I'll feel the same anxiety!

  11. You had me convinced too... I'm glad the conferences went so well! lol...

    Laura, I like that rocking chair quote! I've never heard it before.

    Did your kids dress as their favourite book characters this day too?!?!? If so -- tell us! Did the teacher offer you tea?

  12. You made me laugh too. I was thinking though, while I was believing that your first two conferences were true,, it's really so much bigger than all of that and you have so much to be proud of. Remember that IF you ever do have a conference like that, okay buttchick?

  13. Buttchick. I'm totally using that one from now on. (Glad your sweet boys are doing well!)


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