Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pink Pumpkins: How My Children Celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Once upon a time a long time ago, (my daughter used to insist all stories must begin like this) there was no Tickles Tabitha character.  Pumpkins were orange and talking to young children about cancer was more frightening then a Halloween without candy.

Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer and October has not been the same since. At our house it became Pink Pumpkin Month and I spent it promoting cancer awareness and marketing Tickles Tabitha's Cancer-tankerous Mommy, my children’s picture book about cancer.

My kids did not just pick out and carve up traditional orange pumpkins. We were purchasing cans of hot pink spray paint, dollar store trick or treat sacks we filled with a pink ribbon craft activity, and making scarecrow hats that looked like Tickles Tabitha.

One year our kitchen was the laboratory where a giant plastic pumpkin head was padded, molded, and turned into a larger than life-sized Tickles Tabitha’s head.  The top section of the Tickles Tabitha costume character my children volunteered to dress up as (I'm doing what my kids call my evil laugh here) and that helped introduced my cancer awareness school program.   

I was reflecting on all that has changed during my recent appearance at the Barnes & Noble Walk With Sally Book Fair.  When my own children were small, talking to them about my cancer raised eyebrows and talking to other peoples children about it was unimaginable. 

So much has changed and much of it due to October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Today cans of pink spray paint are not necessary, you can  purchase pink pumpkin jack-o lanterns at the local super market. 
It's a good thing, since the kids that helped me are now young adults and what I recall as fond memories of Octobers past are now reasons for my son Jordan to complain about his childhood, and affirmations as to why his sister, the "real" Tabitha, graduated summa cum laude with a psych degree. According to the two of them, it's going to come in handy! 

Happy Pink Pumpkin Month!

Here we are before Jordan left for college...

...and here's Jordan now.

 Probably due to inhaling that pink spray paint.