Day 13

We are surrounded by blessings.

There are moments of pain, fear, panic, and exhaustion every day. But all we have to do is look, and we find blessings. Family and friends to hold us up. Homegrown organic vegetables to wash in the sink. A pot of minestrone simmering on the stove. Freshly baked bread for breakfast and another loaf for tomorrow. New toys to play with. New books to read. New yarn to wind up and knit into something comforting. And many less visible blessings to teach us along the way.

With yesterday’s clinic visit behind us, we resumed our home routine today. We mixed it up a bit with some serious Lego construction in the morning before school work. School today consisted of present and past tense helping verbs, variations of long e vowel spellings, common prefixes, and writing paragraphs. It was just enough; by the conclusion sentence of his paragraph about catching fish, Benjamin was tired. Lots of tired patches today. And hungry–so, so hungry, this guy.

I’m trying to remember that this phase will pass, and there will be many days when he won’t want to eat a thing. His cheeks are puffy from the steroid and he just can’t seem to get enough food, to the point of tears sometimes. So, we offer healthy choices and push on through. Benji sure loves to help in the kitchen. He always has.

He’s been increasingly self-conscious this week. This makes perfect sense, of course, as he’s the center of such big attention right now. It wears on him a little. Today I saw him deflect this discomfort in the most lovely way: by taking extra care of those around him. He surprised Daddy with an omelet before work. He asked our neighbor and dear friend recovering from surgery how she was feeling–genuinely, and without prompt. He brought a cookie for Banyan when we went to pick him up after school. And when we packed a picnic and headed to a nearby park with a high school friend, he wanted to talk about her life, and repeatedly offered her snacks from his precious lunchbox. He has such a big heart.

In the park where we picnicked, there is a path surrounded by lush green growth from canopy to ground cover. It’s one of my favorite spots in Sarasota, partly because I’ve been there with my kids a hundred times since they were babies. We all commented on how sweet this spot was. I told Benji that I loved its rich greenness, despite the invasive kudzu and potato vine that were partially responsible. He asked what invasive meant. I explained that these are plants that don’t belong here, and that even though they are quite beautiful, they grow so fast that they don’t allow the healthy native plants to thrive. I realized tonight what a great analogy this is to living with cancer. It’s invasive, and it’s not allowing the good healthy stuff to do its job, so it’s got to go. But while it’s here with us, we may as well enjoy the beauty that comes with it.

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