Our nanny’s husband was just diagnosed with cancer.
A different sort of blogger would make this story her own, and be able to milk at least two or three good soul-searching, tearjerker posts out of it: perhaps something to choke through at next year’s BlogHer Community Keynote. In the hands of another blogger, the story of my nanny’s husband getting cancer would become an opportunity to show how deeply I empathize with other people and how touched I am by the lives of others. But it would also be a lie.
When I write something that involves other people here, my goal is to determine where it is that their story ends and my story begins. The cancer part is not my story beyond how badly I feel for her and how grateful I am that nothing like that has every happened to me (knock on wood). Beyond the momentary bitter reflection on a health care system that made her husband wait for two months to get the biopsy that would confirm diagnosis, and the reflection that those two months might well be the difference between life and death for him, this isn’t my story to tell.
No, my story is the selfish one about how our nanny’s husband being sick makes my life more difficult. It’s harder for me to squeeze out the hours I need from my day lately, since her schedule is limited. How Mini needs me more, and more often, and that I am anxious about it because, with his transition to preschool next week, I have to assume this need for me will only increase. I find myself trying to calculate ahead of time how many days I will need to stay at preschool with Mini, and for how long, in order to make him feel comfortable. My story is the one about how it’s hard for me to prioritize the other half of my work day, the one that involves doing the family’s budget and grocery shopping, and making sure everybody has everything they need right when they need it, when I cannot get in time to work on everything I want to work on. About how I get so easily frustrated by Mini in the morning, when all he is doing is being a toddler and wanting my attention, and I want to fix this or that, or work on this or that, rather than play cars with him.
My story reveals that sometimes I am a total asshole.
My story is about how Noggin is now Nick Jr., and nobody told me, and that the fact that they’ve been playing Little Bill for a full hour on weekday mornings lately is infuriating to me. And about how I’m so annoyed with the makers of Thomas’ Hero Of The Rails for putting an ad at the beginning of the disc, that you are forced to watch, because every time Mini sees it he wants to go get that toy, RIGHT NOW, and there is no way to explain to him that this is not going to happen without some kind of meltdown. About how I have to wash the comforter AGAIN today, and the duvet cover, and pick up all the toys so that nobody steps on them in the middle of the night. Or how Lieutenant Bautista’s speech impediment is like the elephant in the middle of the room on Dexter, and that there are millions of Elmer Fudd jokes to be made and nobody is making them. That the last thing that Heroes needs is another set of characters, and why do they always make us wait so damn long for a new episode of Lost.
My story is full of ups and downs and challenges and failures, but they are tolerable, and they are mine. And I’m lucky.