This morning I rose early again. I enjoyed my coffee in silence, and I wrote. This new habit is exciting. My thoughts are much more clearly translated in the early hours.
When the boys woke, I was ready for them, with morning work to prepare for school and banana pancakes. Banyan and Benjamin both completed significant portions of their summer math. There were no complaints, not even about dividing fractions, though Banyan did ask if he could “take a sabbatical” for seventh grade. No dice, kid.
The day was lovely. The boys reunited with our next door neighbor friends and swam in their pool. We enjoyed reading time, art time, and bike rides. They played sweetly together at a new card game Banyan is teaching his brother. These are the summer days I love.
Benji felt great today. When he returned from the pool he was super pale, and he refused lunch–a rarity for sure. But he felt fine, and his color and appetite returned quickly. I wonder if he just over exerted himself. Later in the day, when afternoon play in the summer sun resumed, his sweat poured, with its acrid, chemical smell.
Tonight we had our session with the videographer from One Blood. She will create the final piece of Benji’s marketing package for September, when he will be the face of the organization, promoting blood donation for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Benji did a wonderful job. The videographer did not give him much direction, so he was left to find his own words, and his own stories. At more than one point his voice was shaking and I could tell he was fighting tears, hard. I almost called the whole thing off. But just like every other really hard thing he’s had to push through, he did it. He finished strong and said all the right things about a time in his life I’m sure he’d rather never relive.
Banyan was interviewed next, and spoke absolutely beautifully, with awe in his voice for his brother’s process. Then it was up to Michael and me. I fumbled the entire time. Michael was absolutely perfect, swooping in when he could sense me flailing and summarizing moments in succinct and emotional sentences.
Benjamin agreed to do this whole thing months ago. He listened as the One Blood representative asked if he’d be interested, and he was the one who said yes. But I don’t think we will accept another such invitation, should one be extended, any time soon. I hope there will come a day when pride and gratitude are the overwhelming emotions that surface when he talks about it. But that day isn’t quite here yet. I watched what happened when he went back in his mind to the seventh floor. It was really hard.
I’m glad we completed what we agreed to do; hopefully a ton of people will donate blood because of Benji, and it’s a way for us to say thank you to the donors that helped save his life. I think he’ll do plenty to raise awareness in the years to come. For now, he is enjoying a relatively normal kid life. He just wants to be eight. He wants to jump in the pool and get ready for third grade and play Pokemon Go with his friends. So that’s what we will do, with gusto.