The word of the day is gratitude.
There were many moments today during which I felt overwhelmed. Since we’ve been at the clinic every day this week, I felt pressure to get caught up on everything else–schoolwork, housework, research–in one day. This was a ridiculous expectation. My lesson today was very clear: forget the expectations. Come back to gratitude. Gratitude is what is fueling this ship right now. It’s what’s making this all work. When I feel overwhelmed, all I have to do is count our blessings. They are EVERYWHERE.
Benjamin was exceptionally energetic today. He felt great, save a few moments of tummy pain. Michael stayed home this morning while I dropped Banyan off, so I was able to go into Benji’s class and give his teacher his handmade Valentines. Lots of kids asked if he was coming back to class; I told them he’d be back before they knew it. In the meantime, his teacher has been in communications with the good folks at HopeCam, and the process of hooking Benji up to his friends through the power of technology has begun.
The idea of HopeCam is fantastic to Benji. Because he felt so good today, I asked him if he wanted to go to school for his class Valentine’s Day party. He immediately shut it down, saying, “No way, everyone will be too…hyper to see me.” I told him that it would be that way whenever he decided to go back, because everyone misses him so much–but that just like taking off a band-aid, that discomfort would dissipate almost instantly. We know that the moment he steps back into the classroom will be near the top of his very long list of brave moments through this experience. The HopeCam idea appeals to him because he can place this moment much more squarely within his control. He will see them all by camera first, before being stared at, worried over, touched. He can make his re-entry a gradual experience, rather than a sudden one. Plus, what kid doesn’t want to play with his own tablet and webcam?
The housework and schoolwork attempts were futile today, but the more important attempt at reclaiming gratitude was a success. It was another gorgeous day today. We were gifted lunch, and an incredible dinner. Banyan came home from school and picked Benjamin for his football team in the neighborhood game. Benjamin is feeling good, healthy and strong right now. Despite moments of forgetfulness from each of us, usually, almost always, we are kind to each other. This Friday night at home with these boys and their daddy feels exceptionally wonderful.
We received a strange package postmarked from Hawaii today. We waited until tonight to open it. Benjamin’s Flat Stanley has returned home! Flat Stanley is a children’s storybook character who is flattened by a billboard, rendered two-dimensional, and mailed to various destinations throughout his popular book series. In the fall, Benjamin’s teacher asked each student to color a picture of his or her Flat Stanley and send it with a letter to the friend who lived farthest away from home. For us, that’s 2011 CNN Hero of the Year Robin Lim, a midwife who lives in Bali–almost exactly halfway around the world. Robin took Flat Stanley on all sorts of adventures, and sent him home with traditional Balinese shadow puppets, gorgeous fabric, a special shirt, music and jewelry for our boy. He reacted with such genuine gratitude, smiling from ear to ear. He wants to present Flat Stanley’s adventures in Bali when he gets the HopeCam hooked up to his class. I think that would be perfect. Old Flat traveled to see one hero, and came home to see another.
I have a great big stack of thank you cards to begin to tackle over the weekend. Gratitude is the best medicine for me right now. I will take it daily, when Benjamin takes his. I am thankful for his healing. I am thankful for love. I am thankful.