Thursday, May 9, 2024

Hoping for More Than a Bite on our Lines

 “It was the hardest year of my life, the year I found out you had stage 4 cancer,” my teenage son said.

My heart dropped. Having terminal cancer is one thing, but seeing how it’s negatively affecting everyone around me, that’s another.

It became hard to say much, and I turned toward the lake. “I just know you’ll catch something,” I said, motioning to where his line punctured the water. And as we sat there, quietly watching, I remembered something from years before.

When Trey was only 8, he came home with a shocking story.

“Mom, during recess the popular boys started picking on Jeremy. They kicked and punched him. They even picked him up and swung him into a pole.”


I blinked, stunned.


“I yelled and asked why they were hurting him. Carter said it’s ‘cause he's a wimp. Because he’s different from the rest of us.” Trey gazed down. “I stood between him and them—I got so mad. And for some reason, I screamed, ‘He’s SENSITIVE. So what?!’”


“Did they stop after that?” I asked. “Did someone tell the teacher?”


Trey explained that another kid told the teacher while Trey stayed inside with Jeremy, making sure he was okay.

“I was 7% popular,” Trey sighed, “but after this, I’m back down to 0% again.”


I hugged him, this big ol’ hug. “I just know it’ll all work out,” I said. “You did the right thing.”

Trey shuffled at the lake’s edge, bringing me back to the moment. He was no longer an 8-year-old fighting adversity but a teenager facing a parent’s mortality.

“Mom, you’re gonna get better, right?” he asked.

“I don’t know for sure,” I said. “But I’ll tell you what; I’m gonna fight like hell for every second I can get with you guys.” Then I set down my fishing pole, and even though my hands smelled like fish guts and mud lined my fingernails, I put my arms around my big, strong boy. “I just know it’ll all work out,” I said, echoing my exact words from years before.

Trey rested his head on my shoulder for a moment, and there we remained, fishing our hearts out but hoping for a lot more than bites on our lines. We simply wanted more time.

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