Dear Parenting with ACEs Community:
I'm transitioning out of my role as Community Manager of Parenting with ACEs due to health reasons (treatment for recurrent ovarian cancer). However, this community is stronger and larger than ever and will be managed by the kind, warm, and smart @Natalie Audage (PACEs Connection Staff) who I've had the pleasure of working with and now consider a friend. Please welcome her and reach out to her with questions or to contribute to this community.
It feels like the perfect time to make this transition. In addition to my health issues, my daughter is now a young adult. And while I'm still parenting, this phase of the parenting journey is quite distinct from the pregnancy, adoption, baby, toddler, and early school years. Kai is a senior in high school and is already older than my mother was when she had her first two kids (me and my older sister). She has been remote learning for over a year and learning to manage time between school, work, and dance which is good practice for college. I had to work full-time before I went to college and was the first in my family to earn a BA. Neither of my parents graduated from high school. My daughter's life is different than mine as mine was different than that of my parents. Different doesn't always mean easier or better though. My daughter has different challenges such as becoming an adult during a pandemic and when violence and discrimination against Asian Americans continues to increase. And, she also has loads of resources and support, as well.
My parenting role is changing. In a few short months, my daughter will be living in the city. It's a time of reflection, celebration, and change. I want to make the most of all the time we have and the rituals which remain such as prom, dance recitals, graduation, and graduation celebrations. She has her passions and interests. At the moment, she is interested in studying molecular biology, chemistry, and genetics. And who knows who and what else she will discover in the coming years. For now, this is a prime time for savoring moments, conversations, dreams, and adventures.
Parenting is a privilege. It has been the hardest and most satisfying work of my entire life. Nothing ever felt more important, daunting, or meaningful. Nothing has challenged me more or made me grow more. What we can face and do to help make the world our children deserve is astounding and never-ending. Parenting requires us to learn and unlearn in equal measure so that we can be with the humans our children are and will become rather than just reflections or projections of our wants, needs, and desires.
As a community member, I will continue to share posts from my Heal Write Now blog as well as some of the writing I'm doing for the Patient Empowerment Network. I'll also be sharing research about the links between adverse childhood experiences and cancer, in general, and the link between childhood sexual abuse and gynecological cancers. specifically which is deserving of more attention and research.
While some of my current work is cancer-specific, such as this recent piece, entitled, Dying Ain't Dead, other writing is relevant to parents and survivors - such as the Parenting at a Challenging Time program at Mass General Hospital is an exceptional psycho-educational approach to support families, and is free. You can read about it here in this piece entitled, Love is not an ember going cold: Parenting while metastatic.
And, as always, I'll continue to share my personal experiences as a patient, parent, survivor, and advocate as I did in this piece entitled, How Cancer Treatment Treated Me: A Graphic Story.
Currently, I am dependent on the medical system and it can still be the cause of harm as fails the most marginalized people and communities too often. It remains in desperate need of trauma-informed, equitable, and healing justice reforms. While there is SO much work to be done, there are also interesting and innovative projects and programs worth finding, sharing, and creating. Let's keep focusing on those so that they multiply and can be replicated.
I am forever grateful to all the people I've met, worked with, and learned from in my roles as community member, community manager, regional facilitator, and writer-speaker-advocate. I'm grateful that despite my current health challenges, there are so many warm, caring, vibrant, and active online spaces where we continue to grow connect. This is one of them.
Again, please join me in welcoming Natalie to her new role as Community Manager of Parenting with ACEs.