Talking to Your Children About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Hollybgroovin Health Guide
  • The words of a little boy


    It's amazing what life throws our way.  Sometimes life seems to be one big test.  Will we pass, or will we fail?  What is our strategy, and can we make it through?  What is it that gives us the determination to take on this challenging life?  What are the things that make all the difference in the world?


    My Boys

    I have been sick most of my 8 year old's life.  I became sick when he was too young to remember me being all well.  He thinks it's normal to have to help out a little more.  I sometimes find him taking more of a parental role, then that of a child.  He can take one good look at me and know if it is a good day or a bad day.  He is my big helper.  And then there is my 5-year-old Jacob.  I always thought that Jacob didn't fully understand that I was sick.  When I was in pain or sad, he would treat me like I was normal.  He would crawl all over me.  He would make me laugh.  He treated me like I was no different then anyone else.

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    The other day as I was helping Jacob tie his shoes for soccer practice he asked me a question that stopped me dead in my tracks.  "Momma", he said, "I don't want you to be sick, why can't you be normal like other moms?"  I immediately froze.  I wanted to sob uncontrollably, but knew I couldn't.  So I did what many moms would do in my situation and ignored the question.  Later at soccer practice I sat there and watched him play as the question just echoed over and over in my head.  It was like my world had just fallen apart.  I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep this from him for too long, as I had been in horrible pain, but I was hoping that the one person who had always treated me like I was normal would never find out.  Well, I was wrong.  He was right, I am sick.  But how do I answer that question.  How do I make my 5 year old understand?


    I am going to be okay

    After soccer practice we came home, ate dinner, finished bath time, and I went to tuck both of my boys in at bedtime.  I tucked Gavin, my 8 year old, in first.  I gave him a hug and a kiss and we said our prayer.  I dreaded the trip down the hall to Jacob's room, worried that he would question me again.  I gave him a hug, then a kiss, and we said our prayers.  As I turned to walk out of his room he said, "Momma, it's going to be okay, you are going to be all right."  I smiled because he was right.


    From the words of a little boy

    Jacob was right, it was going to be okay and I was going to be all right.  I have to be alright.  Sometimes we get so caught up in our pain and our illness to remember that there are people watching us.  Sometimes it's too easy to forget about the ones that depend on us and who need us to be "all right."  We are the fighters.  We are the ones who take care of others whether it be making sack lunches, finishing projects at work, or making dinner.  We are the ones who must complete our tasks while being sick and in pain. 


    So today while we are busy with the "why me's" and the "poor me's," just remember that it's going to be okay and that we will be all right.  We have to be in order to spread hope and strength to those around us. 

Published On: November 04, 2008