Benji woke up early with a bad tummy ache. Clutching, desperation, bathtub, the whole nine yards. I sat in my spot next to the tub and studied him. I wasn’t as concerned as other bathside examinations have led me to be. His color was strong and he was not in tears. I chalked the discomfort up to the reintroduction of Septra, and vowed to introduce some priobiotics today.
The bath made Benji feel much better. He was happy to see that St. Nicholas had visited last night after we left the boys’ slippers outside the door. I’m a fan of sharing stories of real humans who did nice things for people. After breakfast and the treats that St. Nicholas left, we busted out the art supplies and got to work on gifts for aunts and grandparents, and on Benji’s fabulous design for our company Christmas cards. It was so nice to have the oil pastels and creativity flying on our dining room table again. I cherish these moments. I intentionally do not cover our table during art projects so it can become weathered with bits of color. It has been far too long.
With masterpieces created, we each went about our Sunday business, I to my holiday shopping and chores, Michael to his light stringing, and the boys to their football games with neighbors. In the afternoon I visited a friend’s house who was having a book sale. She is a lovely woman whom I consider a bit of a kindred spirit; we share so many interests. She had a friend over to visit, and we were getting to know each other. My friend told her friend that my son has leukemia. Her friend asked me, “A.L.L.?” I was rather shocked. Even thought it’s the most commonly diagnosed childhood cancer, most people don’t know it by name, let alone by acronym. I had to ask, “Do you have a family member who has gone through this?” I almost wished I hadn’t. She lost her daughter twenty years ago to the same diagnosis.
I tried to steady myself at the table of books as she told me how different things are now, how much treatment has changed, how amazing the research has been and how far we have come. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I can handle this information, goodness knows; but I just was not expecting it. Not here, at a Sunday book sale. I didn’t know what to say. I almost felt guilty for having a child diagnosed twenty years later than she did. My friend was a gracious host and wise woman and said the right things. Her friend did too. I wanted to hug them both.
I left with my books, which were gifted to me, and went home to my family. My masterpieces. My messy, colorful, worn down, weathered, comfortable, sturdy masterpieces. My loves.