Benji went to school all day today. He woke up early clutching his tummy and asking for Kytril. He looked pale to me and I wasn’t sure how the morning would go. But after his medicine was absorbed, along with grits and eggs, he felt much better. He was excited.
Benji’s school was our first stop, Banyan’s our second. We waited outside Benji’s classroom until the bell rang. A kid in the class down the hall was also waiting. He marched right up to Benji and said, “Why don’t you have any hair?” I watched Benji to see how he’d react, but before he could say anything, the kid kept going. “Is it because of the medicine?” Then, looking at me, “He doesn’t like the medicine, right?” And on and on. The whole time he was asking questions he had this big smile on his face. Benji gave me an eye roll and a look that said “You handle this one,” and walked down the hall to talk to a friend.
I answered Nosy Parker’s questions quickly and politely and rejoined my son. I resisted the urge to be totally annoyed by his lack of social grace. I reminded myself that these kids are seven, after all. In hindsight, I should have responded immediately by introducing myself and Benji. “I’m sure Benji would be happy to answer your questions, but I don’t believe you two have met.”
I spent the morning doing research and cleaning, then I picked up a slice of Benji’s favorite pizza and brought him lunch at school. It’s something I used to do weekly, before leukemia. It was nice to sit with him again and hear about his busy morning. I thought about the days I couldn’t step foot on campus without crying. It seems like so long ago. And it seems like five minutes ago.
On the way home, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things. I saw Michael’s truck in the parking lot! He was grabbing a quick lunch between meetings. I snuck up on him in the aisles, and we hugged for a long time. I sat with him in his truck as he ate and we talked. It felt so nice to reconnect with him. We’ve been so singularly focused. I realized that “dates” will become a more regular part of our lives again soon, and it was a very refreshing thought.
When I picked Benji up from school, he took me to the playground to retrieve a football he’d gotten stuck in a tree during recess. We started throwing a soccer ball to try to dislodge it. Within seconds, a gaggle of boys came to Benji’s aid. They all were so earnest in their efforts. Finally they got the ball down and begged Benji to stay and play with them.
I left Benji’s school today with a very happy boy.