There’s a kid who’s a year younger than my 7 year old twins, and my boys idolize him. I mean, the sun rises and sets on this kid, and if there’s anyone they could be like, it’s him. Because, dude, this kid has the coolest – the COOLEST – thing in world.
A prosthetic eye.
Do you know what this means?
This means Hudson can pop his eye out of the socket and play kickball with it or marbles. You know, theoretically… and if his mom isn’t watching… and if he didn’t already misplace his eye, which I hear happens from time to time.
When the zombie apocolypse happens, Cai and Cael have plans to groom Hudson as humanity’s secret weapon, because, assuming he can be trained to drool, groan and drag one foot, he can walk right into the pack of zombies and not get eaten before he has a chance to wipe them out. As soon as the zombies get suspicious, he just has to squeeze that eye out, and they’ll be all, “Oh! I guess we didn’t smell brains, after all,” ’cause, let’s be honest, zombies aren’t all that smart.
Of course, my kids don’t know that Hudson had cancer – retinoblastoma, a tumor that forms in the retina and grows – and so had to have his eye removed a week before he turned two. They’ve never asked. They just know Hudson is rad and that he has, in their firm opinion, a moral obligation to be a zombie for Halloween. We probably need to work on their sensitivity. Or maybe we don’t; I’m not really sure they’re wrong.
But for Hudson’s mama? Oy vey.
Two days before I turned 2, a dog used his teeth to rearrange my face. Two reconstructive surgeries, two plastic surgeries and one oral surgery later, my face is reassembled. Mostly. As in, my nose is made partly from my ear, and doctors say I should have more work done to erase the scars that run from my nose through my lips and under my chin, but meh. I just don’t care enough to go under the knife again. Because my childhood was good. And my dating life was fun. And I made friends. And my husband won’t quit pinching my ass if I make the mistake of walking in front of him on the way up the stairs.
I’m OK with wearing scars on the outside; it’s what I do. It’s who I am.
But for my mama? Oy vey.
Like Sue, Hudson’s mama, says, “Hudson took it like a champ while I was a wreck.”
And yes. Of course. Of course Sue was a wreck. The mamas always are.
Because walking a child through cancer is tough on the mama heart, and watching him lose an eye to beat it? Something we want no mama or child to have to endure, no matter how TOTALLY COOL prosthetic eyes are.
And her son’s cancer isn’t the only tough road Sue’s walked. Frankly, life gave her a real crappy hand to play there for a while, and I don’t know how many times Sue pulled the covers over her head, wanting it all to just stop, but I’m gonna make a wild guess and go with a lot. A lot of times. And probably a lot of sitting in the dark.
I asked Sue to share a tiny blurb about herself. Just a little get-to-know-you bit because I want you meet Sue so you’ll know where we’re headed.
Sue wrote, “I’m a missionary kid, a solo parent to 3 littles, and a Jill-of-several-trades who has finally found HOME. I lived in SE Asia from 7 years old until graduating high school. As a missionary kid, there’s an understanding that when you go back to your home country, you will never fully belong. I definitely lived into that reality for many years, and it wasn’t until we landed here in this little Oregon town in 2009 that things started to be different in a really powerful way. It felt a bit like God was having a good chuckle, saying “See, you thought you were just clumping around like a mismatched sock, but I was leading you here all along. Sneaky, huh?”
“My little tribe has been through some very rough waters these past few years and we would not have made it through without the love of this quirky, flawed and totally amazing community. My work week is a patchwork of cleaning, biscotti baking, babysitting and creating knit and crochet items. This chaotic assortment of things allows me some flexibility to be as present a parent as possible for my 9, 6 and 2 year old, which I am very thankful to be able to do in this season of life.”
I found it remarkable that when I asked Sue to share about herself, she shared about feeling like a mifit and finding her place, and more about the importance of a weird, imperfect and deeply engaged community – and about belonging – than about tragedy. Because hello! Yes. YES. We all so desperately need each other.
I’ve thought about Sue a lot over the past few years, just like I’ve thought about a lot of your stories, and I’ve done what anyone in my situation would do: sat here feeling overwhelmed and a little hopeless.
Helpful, right? That’s me!
But I had an idea recently, and I’ve kicked it around for a while, examining it and fine-tuning it, and I’m excited to announce it to you today, because I think together we might be able to provide a little help. A little practical assistance to Sue and to other mamas and dads and people in need. And it’s not a great thing. It’s just a small thing. But like Mother Teresa said, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
This is the small thing I’d like to do together. As partners in a weird, imperfect and deeply engaged community.
Announcing: Ad Scholarships on the 5 Kids Blog
Many of you have offered over the years to support this website and my writing with donations, and despite the sincerity and kindness of your offers, I’ve turned you all down. It’s not that I’m opposed to websites that support their inherent costs with donations; I completely understand their desire to keep their space ad-free. It’s just that I’d rather use my space to provide low-cost ads to the people who need it most – home-based businesses, writers and artists. It’s HARD to find affordable ad space, and these are the people whose efforts I want to support.
But no matter how low the cost of advertising here is, there are many people who still can’t afford it – often the people who need the ad space the most.
Today, I’m inviting you to participate in funding ad scholarships. Your contribution of any size will support the costs of running this site while allowing me to provide discounted or free ad space to people who need it.
And, of course, I’m very pleased to let you know Sue will receive our first 5 Kids Ad Scholarship. After this, ad scholarship recipients will be anonymous, but I’m grateful to Sue for allowing me to use her story here today.
Sue owns and operates Sweet Evie Knits, where she sells her gorgeous knitted and crocheted creations. “Yarn weaves its way into the crazy chaos of life with 3 kids. Whether pacing all night with a fussy baby, watching my kids play at the park, waiting at appointments or watching a movie in the evening, my fingers usually have yarn running through them.”
You can see Sue’s work on the Sweet Evie Knits Facebook page or at her Etsy shop. The Etsy shop is light on merchandise right now because Sue just finished displaying her work at a church; now that she has everything back, we’ll see updates to her site in a few days.
To Donate to Ad Scholarships on the 5 Kids Blog: Send any amount to email@example.com via PayPal with “Ad Scholarship” in the memo line.
To Request an Ad Scholarship: Send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Request for Ad Scholarship” in the subject line. Include:
- “Request for Ad Scholarship” in the subject line
- a brief introduction of yourself and your business
- links to your business (websites, Facebook, Twitter, Etsy, etc.)
- why you’d like to be considered for an ad scholarship
- the scholarship amount you’re requesting (a percentage or dollar amount, up to $30 which is the cost of a one-month ad)
All scholarships will be awarded on a one-month basis. Once approved for an ad scholarship, I’ll send further instructions, you’ll be placed on a first come / first served wait list, and your ad will be placed as funds become available. All requests for ad scholarships are anonymous and scholarship ads will appear on the blog the same as paid ads.
It’s Saturday, so it’s time for our new feature:
5 Kids Reruns
Here’s What Happened This Week on the 5 Kids Facebook Page:
I discovered my kid’s been using my earplugs as nose bullets; turns out, he’s kind of a butt.
We played fill-in-the-blank, and a chorus of congested weedwackers won.
My parents celebrated 43 years of not killing each other, not even once.
And I decided it’s foolish to continue to buy toothpaste when there’s another, obvious solution. Not baking soda; this is WAY more economical.
Some Favorites Pulled From the Archives:
An Open Letter to New Mamas: For all the mamas (and dads and fellow humans) who are lonely and isolated and wondering where that illusive Village is. This is why so many of us who hang out here at the 5 Kids blog wave to each other in the dark.
On Not Doing All the Things: In honor of all of us who are plugging away and still Not Doing All the Things
This Is My Body, Sacred and Scarred: Because I’m feeling a little uncertain today, a little caved in on myself, a little small, but choosing to be brave anyway. This is to all of us, because we are, every last one, sacred and scarred.
Here’s What Happened This Week Here on the Blog:
New Post. A Call to the Edge: Dedicated to every one of us who’s living a life different than the one we planned. Than the one we imagined. And who felt, at first, a little lost, navigating our way from the Way Things Should Be to a Life That Is Free.
New Post. I Dream Dreams. HELP. “I dreamed the other night that Greg grew very tall – perhaps 6’4″ or 6’6″ or something – which, obviously, enraged me.”
New Post. Abby made a special picture to show me how I look in the morning. She isn’t wrong.
We wrapped up the Family and Imperfection Writing Contest Features. Our 5 winners and 2 runners-up are:
Winner: Between My Naked Toes by Jen Hulfish of This Life Unconventional
Winner: Who Are You? by Lora Lyon of My Camo Kids
Winner: Foster Mother by Dawn Reed
Winner: All I Have to Do Today by Jenny Roth
Winner: On Doing It All, Not on My Own by Mandy Smith of Smith Silliness
Honorable Mention: Enough by Michelle Ruth Frindell of Maple Leaf Kitchen
Honorable Mention: When Imperfection Looks More Like Love by Dominique Dobson of Entertaining Morsels
Our compiled list of 40 Days of Lent: 15 Minute Projects is up to date! This is a miracle.
You are the driving force behind the 5 Kids blog. This space is about community; finding each other, finding ourselves, waving to each other in the dark until the dawn comes, and always – always – about Love.
Stay connected. You can subscribe via RSS, Email, Facebook and Twitter. (Psst… I suck at Twitter.)
10 responses to “Announcing: Ad Scholarships and Our Secret Weapon for the Zombie Apocalypse”
Three cheers for Sue and finding community.
Also -reading the re-cap of your week was exhausting. You’re one busy mama writer!
Ha! It was a good exercise for me for sure. I tend to look at a week and conclude I’ve done nothing because there are still things TO DO… MORE laundry, MORE to write, MORE meals to make. It’s good for me to remember I DID do all those things, too. An act of grace for myself, which I’m trying to practice more. xo
I saw this and I thought, “Like Hudson!”
Mom said: “Tell him something that makes you special.”
She said: “I have a fake eye because I had cancer.”
(It’s from Humans of New York)
Beth, there is nothing wrong with your twins.
I was a zombie pirate for Halloween after an eye surgery that, I kid you not, I fainted when I saw the results of.
Little boys ran like bunnies; grown men asked me how I did that to my eye; their dates shushed them. It rocked. And absent the encouragement of my kid, I’d never have done that.
This is the GREATEST story. We told our twins and they both yelled, “COOL!” You rock. So does your encouraging kid.
I love this post in so many ways!
My son has been fighting Retinoblastoma for the last 10 months (he is 11 months old) and my husband has a prosthetic eye from his fight from Retinoblastoma when he was 6 months old.
First let me say, my husband will be proud of the whole zombie apocalypse part when I show it to him. That is too funny.
Second, I am glad you give a sympathetic shout out to Hudson’s mom. I never realized how hard a cancer fight could be on the parent. Let me just say: Oh vey.
Can we nominate someone for the ad scholarship? I have someone who has a very small Etsy store,unemployed, but has given me more support and inspiration I could ever imagine through this time.
Jennifer, I have the extremely rare adult cancer that is treated at the retinoblastoma oncologists’, and I must tell you (and Sue, Hudson’s mom) the following:
‘Zombie fight between kids with prosthetic eyeballs in the waiting room’ is the best. (I’m not even reducing it to ‘at putting my own problems into perspective’, because it’s better than that, it’s finding joy in loss; and the zombie kids aren’t a lesson for my personal growth.)
Daddy-son zombie fight with prosthetic eyeballs has epic potential too, is all I’m getting at.
Might even measure up to ‘uptight ocular oncologist chases recalcitrant younger brother of kid in zombie eyeball fight because he’s figured out that when they look in your eyeball something bad happens’. Little dude got to the elevators, and patients of all ages gave him a standing ovation. Because we’d like to run around screaming too.
We seriously have the best community here. You guys are awesome. For mama you, Jennifer, let me just sit here and hold your hand. Oy vey. Yes. Oy vey. I love your comment about your husband, though… and Alex’s follow-up is priceless. Oh, the griefs of life overwhelm us, don’t they? And then – BAM! – joy out of nowhere in the form of prosthetic eye wars.
I just love you all SO MUCH.
Yes, Jennifer – you can nominate someone for the ad scholarship.
I meant to comment on the original post, but I got it in email and never made it to the actual webpage, so I’m just going to tell you here… I’ve been reading your blog for awhile, and when I first started reading it, I went back and read the older stuff too, so I’ve kinda been with you since the beginning, even though I really haven’t. LOL But I have to tell you that “A Call To The Edge” was the BEST blog post I’ve ever read – yours or anyone else’s for that matter. It made me catch my breath, and I think it should be published in it’s own standalone publication. Just sayin’.