I have written this post 5 times. Five times I have deleted every word from the page. Five times I have lost my words. Five times I have tried to write about the different emotions I’m feeling. For those who are close to me, they’re probably in shock that I’m speechless. What follows is the best I’ve got.
I’ll start this off like all my other drafts: My 8-year-old daughter Naudia wrote a book.
She wrote a book in hopes of selling 500 and all the profits she’s making will be going to a very special friend. Her 7-year-old buddy, Linkin, is battling brain cancer. This isn’t his first time either. He was diagnosed when he was just under 2 years old and had treatment, but recently the tumor began to grow again. Naudia decided she wanted a summer project.
That summer project became raising money for Linkin.
She’s always had a kind heart. She’s a spirited, independent child who has given me white hair, but her heart… it’s so big it brings me to tears. I wasn’t shocked when she said she wanted to raise money for Linkin. Being the person I am, I told her to reach for the stars. And that she did.
She created a list of questions and man, oh man, were they hard-hitting ones. I’m talking about the questions that as a parent you try to encourage your kids not ask in public. “Are you scared of the cancer?” “Will it be okay?” “Does it hurt?” “What’s happening?” “Do you have a guardian angel?” “Is your mom scared?” “Do you want to cry?” “What’s your day like?”
I have to admit, when I saw them, I had a lump in my throat. I was pretty positive Linkin’s mom, Kelly, would tell us enough is enough. But, she didn’t. The innocence of Naudia and her curiosity got the better of Kelly and me. And truly, what kind of a children’s book written from a children’s perspective would it be without these hard questions?
After practicing her questions she interviewed him. She felt his port. She wrote her answers down. She listened to how Linkin was tired and threw up from the chemo a week before. Then she put her notebook down and magically they were just kids again. She chased Linkin and his brother, Travis, around the house. They played, they screamed, and for a second, life was normal.
After the interview, Naudia decided to follow Linkin to chemotherapy. I wanted to go so bad, but my intentions were selfish. I wanted to make sure she didn’t push herself into the situation. I wanted to make sure she didn’t make Linkin or his mom feel uncomfortable. I wanted to make sure she wouldn’t ask anything that would make anyone blush. I wanted to make sure she wouldn’t be freaked out by everything and cry that she wanted to go home. Basically, I wanted to control the situation. So, I didn’t go.
When she came home I saw the videos she took. They were giggling. They were talking about the tv shows that were on while he was getting his chemo. They also talked about pain and the process. There was that lump in my throat again. As the tears crept up, I couldn’t help but feel selfish that I was thankful my children were healthy. I prayed so hard for Linkin and the other kids I know that are battling this awful disease. I looked into her eyes and she wiped the tears and said, “Mama, stop crying and watch this! Look at how they insert the medicine. Look, Linkin feels no pain. Mama, it’s okay.” She talked to me and explained everything the staff was doing to Linkin in the videos. She talked about her day like it was a day at school. More importantly, she told me she wasn’t scared anymore. Her words blew me away.
My baby was scared and I wasn’t there to protect her. But, she was stronger than I thought. She was scared of a situation and rather than turning away from it, she faced it head-on.
This whole process has taught me that she is so much stronger than I thought. She is intelligent beyond belief, and her heart —her heart could melt even the hardest of men. She taught me it’s okay to ask the hard questions. It’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to dig deep. As adults, it’s so easy to get caught up with life that we stop experiencing LIFE. I am eternally grateful to Naudia for reminding me that you shouldn’t be afraid and truly, your dreams are possible.
Check out the news coverage from CBS 58 for more information on My Friend Linkin and to meet Naudia and her brave friend!
September is Childhood Cancer Month. If you’re interested in following the journey of Naudia and Linkin, you can read the latest on FB page: My Friend Linkin. Her book will be published early November and she is currently taking pre-orders. Each book is $15 if you are in the Milwaukee area and would like to pick it up or $21.95 if you’d like it shipped (She is shipping worldwide). You can send money via PayPal Friend and Family to: [email protected] or message her FB page for other options. All proceeds will go to Linkin and his family.