Day 328

The moon is so bright and full tonight shining over the Georgia pines. We are here, our fire barrel is full, and we are happy.

The trip north was quick and easy. The boys were excited. As we got closer, Benji was beside himself, asking “How many more minutes?” like a thousand times. He wanted to turn onto that red clay dirt road so badly. When we finally did, both of their grins were gigantic.

For years, when we’d come to Georgia, we’d stay in an old camper trailer parked next to Grandma’s house. It was on its last legs, with floor and ceiling both caving in in places. Kathy came up to Georgia a few weeks ago and replaced the camper with a gorgeous newer one–no small feat–just because she wanted us to be comfortable while we’re here. The new digs are amazing. The boys no longer have to share a pull out futon; there are four bunk beds. There is a working stove and microwave, an awning and even a grill and sink outside. The cabinets are stocked. We’d be happy anywhere up here, but this feels so nice. We are loved and supported in so many ways.

Kathy and Gana even had a photograph printed on canvas to hang in the camper. It was from the last time we came to Georgia; a picture of the four of us standing at a cave we frequently explore. I stared at Benji’s face on the canvas. I looked at his skin and his eyes, both of which seemed faded, dulled. I feel almost certain the leukemia had begun in this picture. I wonder how I didn’t know.

We gave big hugs to Great Grandma Wilson, then the boys helped Michael offload their bikes so they could ride. Michael and I were nervous. Benji’s platelets are plenty high enough to sustain injury, but we also have his port to worry about, and I forgot his chest protector at home, even though it was on my very long list. We gave the boys their ground rules and their jackets and let them go. They were careful. We exhaled. This place is just good for their souls.

Benji’s second steroid pulse is in full effect tonight. He is behaving a little manically, but we know he’s also just super excited to be here, finally, after a year away. The steroids are also beginning to rev up his hunger. This does not mix well with the three hour non-eating window that comes with his nightly chemo. I’m grateful this window is almost closed. He’ll be having a late night snack tonight before he climbs into his freshly made bunk bed.

But first, Benji will enjoy a night ride with his brother, his daddy and aunt, and a dear friend. They’re off now on the trails, bundled up, listening to good music and feeling the glow of moonlight and freedom on their skin. Good for the soul, this place.

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