Saturday, March 1, 2008

Humility and 95%

One of the amazing things about being a parent is reliving some of your youth. Watching your children encounter stages of life and to remember them all over again, both bitter and sweet.

This past week was GATE testing for 2nd graders at our school. GATE stands for "Gifted and Talented Education". It was very interesting to talk with my husband about where we think and hope our daughter will place with this testing.

But it also brought up some interesting memories of my childhood and my mother. Around 3rd grade, I tested for a similar program, whatever it was called back then, and I qualified. My mother, a former school teacher, kept me out of the program, despite the fact that I could have participated based on my scores. I remember watching the kids go to the program and feeling like they were special somehow. I remember being jealous of the projects they got to work on.

My mom told me that she didn't want me to get too big an ego and that was the reason she kept me out. This is a very similar theme to how she talked to me about my appearance, never saying I was pretty for fear of me using my looks instead of my brains. Looking back, it puzzles me that she felt the need to keep me down. Was I really at risk of becoming an egomaniac. Was I already too big for my britches at such a young age that I needed to be put in my place?

Maybe I'll ask her.

This past week I got the very sad news that my father needs to go back in for surgery. Just 4 months ago he went in for surgery to remove cancer in his colon. He's been undergoing chemo ever since. They found a lump, though, in his lung. This lump is closing off the top lobe of his lung and making that part not even operable. I went up to help him with the procedure to get a biopsy of the lump. They were not able to get to the lump due to the location.

They and he have decided that he needs surgery to remove not only the lump, but the entire lobe of his lung. To do this, they actually have to cut off a rib to get to it. Then they "glue" the rib back on. Recover is two months. His chances for surviving the surgery alone are 95%. I find myself focusing intently on this number. That means he has a 5% chance of dying on the operating table, just one day after his 68th birthday. 5% sounds small, until you think that it means 1 in 20 people, then it sounds really big. For that 1 in 20, that number is 100%.

I'm scared for my dad. I'm scared for my life without him. I feel like it is finally sinking in that he is dying of cancer, but then I remember all of the cancer survivors out there and I think positively for his outcome. Maybe if he lives, he'll do those things he's been putting off . . . retirement, travel, etc.


yertle said...

That is interesting about your mom trying to prevent you from being too big for your britches. In my family that all comes from my Grandma. You are not supposed to have attention. I still struggle with this. It is hard for me to understand what they think will happen if you are.

Sorry to hear about your Dad. That is rough. I will be thinking of all of you.

Sierra said...

The ego can be a dangerous thing, but so can supressing potential that has an authentic place within you. Tough call to make and I'm glad it isn't mine... at least not yet.
So sorry to read about your dad. I can only imagine how scary it would be. My Dad just turned 50 and I am still hanging on to the fairytale that he is invincible. I think even in death he will still be invincible to me.
Hugs to you. I hope all the best.