The boys and I are home and tucked into our beds after a late night drive from Sarah’s house in Gainesville.
We spent the day at a slow pace. Benji was the first to wake and pulled me up for an exploration of the property in the early morning light. He was back in the kitchen in no time, proud to scramble the eggs for the family breakfast.
Cousins played inside and outside all day long. Sarah baked and delivered cookies to her neighbors, and planned her family’s trip north to visit grandparents. And I began an art project I’ve been dreaming up for quite some time now, with the excellent help of my sister and niece. It was a lovely day.
We left shortly after dinner. Benjamin slept on the way home. Banyan and I had a powerful conversation, then listened to Harry Potter until we pulled into our driveway. The dogs are happy to see us.
Tomorrow the boys each have plans with friends, and I have a house to de-Christmas. We will begin our huge purge of toys and books so that we can make a giant deposit to the All Children’s Hospital Child Life Department before the New Year.
More photographs of “this day last year” are popping up on my social media feeds, and memories of the days leading to Benjamin’s diagnosis are sharpening in my brain. It’s okay. I’m handling it well. It’s still a challenge to see images of Benjamin’s body and know what was happening rapidly inside, us unaware. These are the hardest images for me to see, harder than any that have been taken since. But when I really step back and examine the events of the final week of 2014, I know that we moved extremely quickly from first bruising to diagnosis. I know that we succeeded in getting him what he needed to thrive during these intense months of treatment.
We are, each of us, still grappling with the many emotional repercussions of this year, of course. It is hard work. But I know we are doing the best we can. And I think we’re doing a damn good job.