It seemed like just another day till I heard from my son, Sid. “I asked for the pink ribbon today”, he said, as he began pulling out the books from his school bag. Sid said it so casually that I almost didn’t hear it. But, the words ‘pink ribbon’ got my attention, as it is the symbol of breast cancer.
I sat Sid down and asked him what he meant. “Well”, he began and looked at me matter-of-factly, “my teacher asked if any of us knew anyone affected by breast cancer and I raised my hand”. I stared at Sid for a few seconds taking in what he had just said.
My heart went weak and my knees were wobbly. “And?” I asked eagerly wanting to know more. “And, I told every one about you,” Sid said, unperturbed. “And then”, Sid had something more to add, “the teacher brought in some pink ribbons and that is when I asked her for one”.
As I listened to Sid, my heart swelled with pride in the knowledge that my little boy had done this for me. But at the same time my heart broke because he had to do it. I watched Sid take the ribbon off and place it on the dresser. I wanted to be sure, if he was okay. I asked if he wanted to talk about it. “No, I am fine”, he said. “In fact, I have asked all my classmates to wear the pink ribbon”.
While I watched Sid in awe, he had a glint of a smile. “I also have a slogan mum”. He paused. My heart thumped. “Wear the pink ribbon for my mum,” he said excitedly as he gave me a high five. My throat went dry. A tear escaped from the corner of my eye. I looked away. I wished he didn’t have to do it.
When I first heard of my diagnosis it took me an entire month to come to terms with it. At first, I didn’t tell Sid. I waited for the right moment, not sure if Sid would be able to handle such a truth. It took more courage to tell Sid than to tell myself that I had indeed been given bad news.
I remember the day, when I broke the news to Sid. I knew it was inevitable — he had to know. He had just finished his breakfast. I sat next to him and opened up. I knew at that time that I had to be strong.
No emotions, just plain, reassuring words. I knew in my heart if I stayed strong and spoke strong then Sid would feel the same. My only problem was, I didn’t want my maternal emotions to override logic.
So I had to make sure that I finished all my crying before I opened up. Of course, Sid flared up, cried a bit and worried a lot. But I stayed calm and strong.
Now, as all the thoughts came gushing in, I wondered how I should feel. I watched Sid ease out the slight crease in the corner of the pink ribbon.
“You are such a strong boy,” I told Sid and gave him a hug. “You are the one who is strong mum, not me,” he said and hugged me tightly. He didn’t linger on much. He rushed to finish his homework.
As I watched him, I understood that human emotions are not easy. I have no idea what this tiny piece of satin ribbon brings with it. It is complicated. It is emotional and now my son has no problem wearing it.
Undoubtedly, my boy is very strong and I am very proud. All I can do is thank God for this immensely beautiful gift he has given me.