Benji woke up feeling awful, crying and clutching his belly. By 7am he had already had Kytril and a detox bath. When his tummy is empty and triggers pain, he gets super emotional. An early pre-breakfast helped. We enjoyed some quiet time playing together before the rest of the house stirred awake.
I took Banyan to his basketball tryouts today, and Benji stayed home with Michael. Banyan didn’t stop smiling the whole time he was playing. He was so happy to be using his body. It made me miss Benji’s smile during his baseball days. I texted Benji’s former coach, who happens to be a childhood cancer survivor. We’ve been kicking around the idea of Benji practicing with the team this fall, in preparation for registering for the spring season. His coach was excited, and said he’d be happy to have him on the field again.
Ironically, when Banyan and I came home, all Benji could talk about was baseball. He had asked Michael to take him shopping for a new bat and glove. He didn’t even know I’d been texting his coach just an hour earlier. I encouraged the purchases wholeheartedly, and after I made lunch, Michael took the boys to the sporting goods store, and I went grocery shopping.
When I returned, Benji and Michael were playing catch. His new bat is fierce; black, with orange fiery letters. His glove is tobacco colored and smells of fresh leather. He has such a spark in him when he’s throwing, or hitting, or catching. It’s the spark I saw in Banyan at basketball today. It’s the spark that comes from doing something that makes you feel strong.
I thought of Hudson many times today, but today’s thoughts brought me more joy than pain. I know that his family is savoring every moment, off on a new adventure together, loving each other fiercely. I checked social media often to find pictures of Hudson’s radiant smile. I can feel his happiness. They are giving him such a gift.
If I’m being honest, and that’s what this space is for, I see a lot of myself in Hudson’s mother. I have witnessed her catching our nurses in mistakes. I’ve watched her negotiate with the oncologists. She is not one to be talked down to. Deep down, I’ve seen her turning away from her fear, refusing to give in to it, putting one foot in front of the other and choosing love with a big smile on her face. Behind it, I feel the weight of what she is carrying. I want to be there with her, to take some of her pain when it comes rushing over her. But I can’t. What I can do is look to her example. I can say yes. I can fill my children’s lives with happiness, and teach them to prioritize joy. To live in the present moment. To breathe in gratitude. To breathe out fear.
We ended the day with Chinese takeout, a family game night and a movie. Everyone was laughing. Happiness fills our home tonight. I am not thinking about tomorrow. I’m just so grateful for what lives here in this house right now. LOVE.