This is a children’s book that helps children cope with the challenges of having a caregiver with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, or autoimmune disease.
The author takes a different approach and tells the story through the eyes of a child whose parent is living with an illness. Suffering from autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia herself, the author uses her experience to bring this story to light.
In recent years, we have seen a surge of people talk about the importance of childbirth, motherhood and raising a child while chronically ill. This book raises awareness of how a family can cope during times of difficulty.
If you are a parent who is chronically ill and having a hard time explaining to your child or children what you are going through, then this book is for you.
The main character, a little boy named Jimmy, is learning to understand and cope with his mother’s illness. Throughout the story the family has open conversations about the symptoms of chronic illness with Jimmy, and shows a true portrayal of how it can impact family life.
Jimmy knows that his mom has fibromyalgia. He is aware of the symptoms his mom can experience and how she may need rest at certain times throughout the day.
During those times his mom needs to rest, he is respectful and quiet. Introducing the notion of setting boundaries.
He shows how much he cares for his mother by bringing her a blanket, teddy bear and a warm hug. Jimmy also learns what it means to be patient and plays with his toys until his mom feels better.
He understands that his mom’s illness doesn’t “make her look sick.” Bringing the invisible illness topic to light. This is a major point in the book because it shows that he understands that even though his mom looks fine, she may still be hurting.
Also, Jimmy is knows that his mom’s symptoms include forgetting where she placed certain items such as her, car keys or phone. They turn it into a game were the mom calls him, “her memory helper.” He doesn’t mind taking on this role, as it makes him feel important and special.
The favor is always returned when Jimmy feels sick. His mom is always there for him. It’s during this time of not feeling well, that Jimmy remembers when his mom tells him that she is not feeling well.
Playing with your child is another topic that’s addressed. While Jimmy does get sad that his mom can’t play with her, they find creative ways to have fun at home when his mom isn’t feeling well to go out.
Jimmy also shares his emotions of anger. His mom tells him she feels angry too and understands him. This is the first we see open and honest dialogue between a parent and child. Instead of shutting his emotions down, she validates him.
Not every family has two parents but in this book it shows his dad taking a role in helping out by taking Jimmy to the park to play. Whether or not you are a single parent, you can enlist a person you trust in your life to be that person.
The themes of love, helping each other out and listening to one another are paramount to making life a little bit easier with illness and parenting. Getting creative and having fun when things aren’t so fun, can help your children understand and communicate their feelings with you properly. As shown in this book.
While the messages can be hard to grasp for very young children, don’t shy away from reading it to your little ones!
At the end of the book, you will find a “Tips and Resources” section just for parents. View it on Amazon here.
Note: I won this children’s book during a giveaway contest hosted by, Mamas Facing Forward. All opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the author, illustrator or host of the contest.