The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Tellling Nick

We were driving to Target when Nick asked about his disabled cousin Catie. Nick, 8-years old, still too small to sit in the front seat, piped up from the back.

“What’s going to happen to Catie when she grows up?” I’d been wrestling with when to tell him more about Catie. Now, this question from out of the blue. “Will she get a job? Or will someone still have to take care of her?”

“Her mom and dad will always take care of her,” I responded. Should I use this moment? How honest should I be? Nick had seen Battens Disease destroying 15-year old Catie – blinding her, shutting down her brain, turning her muscles to mush. But he didn’t know that kids with Battens don’t survive their teens.

“Honey,” I started. “Kids with Battens don’t live long lives. They don’t usually make it past their teenage years.”

Nick got it. A guttural wail poured from him. A sound unlike any I’d ever heard from my boy. He sobbed, his whole body rocking forward and back.

I pulled over, climbed in the back seat and pulled Nick to me. His body calmed a bit. He slid his hand up my sleeve and rubbed my arm. Leaned his head on my shoulder.

“What’s happening with Catie is one of the worst things you’ll ever have to deal with. Honey, I am so sorry.”

Our day wore on. I told my husband. I e-mailed Nick’s teacher, asking her to let me know if she saw any unusual behavior. Told Nick’s Aunt Cathy that Nick knew her daughter’s disease was terminal.

Nick said no more about Catie until a week later, when I was reading to him at bed time.

“I keep thinking about Catie. At school, at baseball, all the time.”

“I think about it a lot, too,” I said. “It hurts so bad.”

Nick nodded, his mouth trembling.

“You can talk to me or Daddy anytime about it. And Aunt Cathy said you can ask her any questions you have.”

His teary eyes closed. Oh god, I hurt. I miss Catie already. And I ache for Nick. I hate that he’ll lose his cousin, that he’ll attend her funeral. But it is going to happen. This year or next year or the following year.

Damn that disease. Damn, damn, damn.

By Marianne Lonsdale


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There's so much love in here, Marianne -- in your family, in your writing. Thank you for sharing it.
made me cry! thanks for sharing this touching, true story, marianne. Laura-Lynne
What a great post, although so sad. You have made me cry as well. What a hard thing for both kids and parents to have to go through.

Little Nick's concern for his cousin's well-being in the future shows what a true mensch he is. Your honesty with him about a brutally difficult truth is commendable and courageous. Well done Marianne both in your writing and in how you are raising your son. Maija
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