Today was a busy holiday Saturday. Benji took his weekend antibiotics this morning, then helped Michael clean the backyard in preparation for next weekend’s celebration of Benjamin’s 8th birthday. I took Banyan to a different birthday party, then got a little holiday shopping done. While I was gone, Michael and Benji decided to ride their bikes to Banyan’s basketball game and meet us there. Benji was so proud of his physical accomplishment. All told, he probably rode six miles. He felt strong in his body and happy with his daddy.
Banyan played hard today in a losing effort in his last game of the season. His defense has really become formidable. I hope he will continue; he still feels that football is “his” sport, and we still feel that a concussion is the last thing our family needs at the second. I was proud of him for his spirit and passion.
Tomorrow, bright and early, the Gilkey family will participate in the Lauren’s One Wish Rainbow Run 5K to honor the life of a young woman who passed away from leukemia a few years ago. Our families are colleagues and good friends, and Lauren’s mother in particular has been extremely supportive of Benjamin’s challenges this year. Benji knows that Lauren was older when she was diagnosed, that her leukemia was different than his, etc. But it still is a hard pill to swallow, no pun intended; this family is missing their daughter because of the same illness Benji has. It was hard for me to talk about it with him tonight. I told him they may want to give him a hug tomorrow, that he may want to hold the spiciness for a few hours and just be grateful. I told him how beautiful it was that they continued to honor their daughter’s wishes year after year, despite the pain it must bring them; Lauren’s “One Wish” was to bring teenagers with cancer joy, whether their wishes are practical or frivolous. Banyan said, “That’s really cool.” Yes. It is. And we’re happy to be a part of it.
Ironically, last year, we were invited to participate in the same 5K, but we felt we were too busy to join. We were swept up in the holidays and turned down the opportunity to support Lauren’s One Wish. Just three weeks later, Benjamin was diagnosed with leukemia. I have a feeling we will be participating in this 5K for many years to come.