24 Monkeys and a Pirate

These weeks since my last chemo and before surgery are precious.  The four of us need the normalcy.

For me, normalcy is volunteering at our kids’ school.  I led an art lesson Wednesday in our son’s class as part of the school’s Art Parent program.  Helping 6-year-olds draw sock monkeys beats the heck out of being in a doctor’s office!

I wore a scarf, but within 5 minutes Sam had called out, “My mom is bald!”

We call it his “Cancer Tourette’s.”

Never shy, he’s made loud, random proclamations about my disease for months now.  Usually in large groups of people.  Sometimes to no one in particular.

For awhile it was “My mom has The Chemo!”  He got cancer and chemo mixed up, at first.

This summer, he raised his hand in a camp assembly to announce to the 100+ campers and staff that my hair was falling out and I’d just bought a wig.  His sister, sitting nearby, was mortified.

At breakfast a few weeks after we’d shaved my head, he mused, between bites of Eggo waffle, “Well, at least you won’t get lice.”

We should all learn from him – rather than hold it in and be worried, he just lets it rip!  Therapeutic for him.  Comic relief for us.

After Sam’s outburst in class, and after a little girl asked the other parent volunteer why I was wearing a bandana, I briefly told the kids that medicine I’d taken had made my hair fall out.  But that it would grow back.  And the scarf keeps my head from getting cold (not really).

A few kids decided that I’m a pirate.  And then everyone went back to their monkeys.

That’s our new normal.



  1. Kurt, Wendi, and kiddos says:

    Good Luck tomorrow….we’ll be sending positive thoughts/energies your way

  2. Kathy Barnett says:

    Thanks for making me smile today. I just love Sam’s free spirit and Sara’s loving nature. You have such amazing children! Thank you for letting me steal your sock monkey ideas! Emily class loved them. And although you have more artistic talent in your pinky finger than I do in my entire body, I just loved it! Thanks for being the most amazing friend ever! Thanks for sharing your ideas, your love and your inspiration with everyone you know. We are all with you tomorrow in thoughts and prayers!

  3. I have been reading all summer. So happy you are finished with Chemo and wishing you good luck with surgery! I made these Monkeys with Kathy last week. You have the best ideas!

  4. Ah, from the mouths of babes! Beautiful post, Nicole. One that you’ll treasure more than most, I bet!

  5. “We should all learn from him

  6. Claudia Johnson says:

    Humor – healthy and healing! Looking on the bright side – way to go! Both – priceless! Love you!

  7. Kevin Gibson says:

    Amazing entry. I’ll file this away with the mental images of him dancing at Steve and Emily’s wedding.

  8. Shiver me timbers! Great story…Sam is a smart cookie!

  9. Grandmother Chase had these “monkey socks”. I can remember being amazed that they lasted so long, especially because we tried to feed them Cheerios at our tea parties! Ain’t kids GRAND!!?? Enjoy!

  10. The monkeys are precious, and you are amazing. Hugs and love