Saturday, November 21, 2015

{.......}

"Just leave me alone" she whispered, the moment before she snuggled deep into my chest.
The sun had not yet taken its place in the sky that morning when Phin stirred awake.  Fevered. Tired. Not feeling well for almost a week...and it had begun to take its toll on her tiny body, and her spirits.

 It's the latest week of the many that have contained one miniature Henderson battling sickness.  No one having the same illness..all different, and all consecutively. One. After. The. Other.

The days starting early and the nights ending not long before that.

Tears, and cries.
Coughs and fevers,
Throw up and aching...

She thought if she hid behind the chair...the doctor might leave her alone.


It was a solo week...those tend to happen when your husband is attending grad school. Field work placements in another town...  leaving three kiddos and a mom looking forward to Friday a little more than usual.....

People often say, When it rains, it pours.
I have been feeling the rain.

Every salty wet drop that falls on my head, I become more drenched in life.
The moments that come within the chaos...
like Phin plastering her hot and fevered cheek against my chest..
my grown up nine year old calling me mommy..even though he is far too grown up to say that,  Parklen saying thank you and squeezing me extra hard for serving him breakfast...
Devan walking in the door after being away.....
those are the moments that serve as an umbrella...giving me a break from the storm.

Every day stress...
nothing specific.
Just life.

You know how it can get you down.
Ive been revisiting posts from years past and my faith is renewed each time I am able to vividly remember what God has done in our lives....I find courage to get up....to be thankful...and to ride through the storms...

Our yesterday's were anything but easy...
but those yesterdays led us to today....
We've made it to today...

With Thanksgiving next week, I am concentrating on all that I have to be thankful for.
And....if you've known me for any time at all....you know that that list is long......



Thursday, October 29, 2015

Two years

Two years can fly by....and at the same time seem to last an eternity.

I can not physically believe that it has been two years since the biggest day in Parklen's life.  I can not.













Two years ago was the beginning of something new, for Devan and I, for Paysen, for Phin and mostly....for Parklen.

We didn't know what tomorrow looked like back on this day in 2013. The future was unknown.....just as it always is... but a big event, like a bone marrow transplant...brings that fact forward in your mind.  It is so easy to "plan" for your future....for the future of your family, your children.  It is so easy to live life as though you've got it figured out.....  But believe me....You don't.

My life looks nothing like I had imagined it would at age 31...  Its much different.  I have spent a long 7 years running a race for my son... and my destination today, the place in which I currently stand, is different than I ever thought it would be.

This day, October the 29th.... will forever be on my list of most importants.  Forever. On this day, just two years ago....I learned more about life than I had in the 30 years leading up to it.

I learned that life is fragile, and scary.
I learned that hope is never, ever wasted. That the nights I spent crying out from the corner of a hospital room...hoping for a miracle...praying...were not in vain.
I learned that 7 is a good age to step up and save a life. That you are never too young to teach the world about selflessness.
That a first grader with gaps in his teeth and freckles on his nose....can be a hero in the true sense of  
         the word.
I learned that Parklen will always be stronger than they expect him to be.
I learned that God answers prayers in His time....and not mine.
I learned that 5 years worth of tears can come together to wash sickness away.
I learned to never take small things for granted.
I learned that our moments here are numbered....and second chances are a gift.

Two years.
TWO years...

Parklen is at school today. School. The place where children go....to learn and grow....  A building filled with other children. He isn't alone downstairs with a teacher all his own.... but in a classroom, surrounded with friends and listening to a teacher that he adores...a teacher that he picks his clothes out to impress every day.  He tells us the best things about school are that "kids like him." Or that he, "has friends."  He loves it.

 He barely remembers what happened two years ago....barely. And the years before that????  He can't remember much of them either. Isn't that something?

He can't remember fighting for his life....he says he can't remember a lot.  That he remembers that he was sick and couldn't walk, and that he couldn't breathe....but most of the rest has fallen away. Its gone from his mind.

In two years, our world has changed. In more ways than could be counted.  Parklen has a life. Paysen and Phinlynn have a brother.  We have a family that rarely is separated.  We aren't miles away from each other every month.  We have days with out medicine.... Nights without tears.  Devan and I have two sons....that are equal in most ways now...  We have average...and happy days. We have messiness and chaos...practices and lessons.. We have homework and reading...

We have Parklen.

I watched my boys walk together onto the playground this morning....and my heart grew. What would life look like today, if we hadn't decided to take the risk of transplant... If we had been too afraid to jump. The doctors say, Parklen's life would have been very short...that his days would have been numbered. Had we not, would Paysen had been walking onto that playground alone today?

I will never take this life for granted.
I will never forget that tomorrow is not in my hands.
That security comes from a relationship with God....not from my own wishes...
Who knows what our future will look like....but today....looks pretty good....
and that's just enough for me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

{9}


Days are going by too quickly,
they refuse to stop...I wish I could slow time....
Its hard for me to grasp the fact, that today you're turning 9. It seems like only yesterday that I first held you in my arms....
My beautiful baby boy, tiny and so perfect....I never could have dreamed,
all the things you've come to be....You're greater than my thoughts could manage.

A brother,
a friend,
a son,
a hero.


Paysen you are full of love and kindness, bursting with wit, frosted with spunk....and topped with a few sprinkles of mischief... You are the answer to many prayers Ive prayed....


Nine years old.
Hard to believe.
You make me proud to be your mom...and happy to witness your life.

I love you Paysen!
Happy Birthday to You!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

ok.....


I can remember dropping Paysen off at kindergarten like it was yesterday.
My heart cried a little....
and butterflies fluttered about in my belly.
I felt sad and happy all at once....
scared and hopeful wrapped together.

and when I walked away from him that day,
I cried.
But my tears slowed quickly....
because I knew.
I knew that, although I would miss him dearly,
although he was growing far too quickly,
and although I would love to keep him small forever....
He would be ok.

I knew that Paysen would be ok.
I knew that he would make friends and learn,
I knew that there was nothing in that school that would destroy him...
He would be ok.

Every year I drop him at school....
and every year I shed some tears....
I cry because I know that the moment is fleeting...
that before long he will be grown,
I cry because I like him as well as love him....and I miss him during the day.

But when I drive away from dropping him off.....
I wipe my tears,
because I know.....
he will be ok.

This morning I dropped Paysen,
a third grader now....
I hugged and kissed him....
and smiled as I said goodbye....
The tears came as I left...
but I slowed them with one simple thought...
he will be ok.

As noon quickly approached...
my heart became heavy...
the weight increasing each time I looked at the clock....
Parklen...ever giddy and excited, came to me every few minutes..."is it time?"
and when it was, we loaded up.

I opted for  the long route to the school...praying for each light to turn red.
Hoping for a train, or something.....
As we pulled up in front of the school, I quieted my heart.
Determined to hide my emotions from Parklen.
A few photos by the school sign, and then we were off....
Hand in hand, we walked through the doors...
the doors to the school of which I have been many times.
I signed in and Parklen smiled...
Down the hall we went...
I felt him squeeze my hand tightly as we came closer to his classroom....
I knew he was nervous.
He hung up his backpack and found his seat.....marked with his name...
I watched for a few minutes....unable to physically leave him. I couldn't.

I knew I was on the verge, when the kid seated next to him shoved all ten of his fingers inside of his own mouth and then leaned over to touch Parklen's shirt....
Placing his slobbery face less than an inch from Parklen's
I watched a moment longer.....
I sucked it up and went in for a hug....kissed his precious face....and said "goodbye"
A few words with his teacher and they started to come...
the tears....
I walked quickly....
trying hard to beat their falling....
Passing friendly faces in the hall only made them come faster....
I avoided conversation....
Once the door had closed behind me I lost it.

I have cried a lot in my life...
I have been given more than enough reasons to....
but, I have rarely cried this hard.

I sat in my car for a few moments...
sobbing uncontrollably...

I couldn't quiet the fears...
I could not slow the tears....

I tried.

but the thing is....
Parklen is different....
and as much as Paysen will be....
I cannot say about Parklen, "he will be ok."
because, I don't know if he will....
I just don't know....

Usually God fills my heart with peace, and I am able to accept difficult situations....
but as much as I pray....
the peace about leaving Parklen today, has not come.
It wasn't there yesterday, or last week, or this morning....
it wasn't there as I finally shut off the water pouring from my swollen eyes long enough to drive home...
and it isn't there now.

I don't feel excited...
I don't feel at ease....

I search, and I search for words,
but there are none.
There is nothing I could say,
that would describe what I am feeling right now.


Parklen was excited to go....
I pray that when I pick him up each day...
he is ok.




Its all I want....
for him to make it through this...
and be ok.

I just want him to be ok.






Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Here we go.

This week has been tough....
In different ways.

This day has been rough on my heart.

Last night was back to school night....

I don't like back to school night....

I get emotional and all crazy about sending Paysen...my healthy kid to school...every.single.year.

Watching Parklen walk down the hallways,
through the crowds of children,
and into his classroom....
was a tornado of emotions.

It was so hard.
It really was.

I can imagine tomorrow, on his first day of going to school....it may be a bit harder.

My heart sings at the joy he feels....
and it swells with his excitement.....
but it is guarded,
afraid,
fearful...

I am trying to get a handle on that fear.
Overcome it.
and let Paklen's joy win.

I sit here tonight and remember...
years worth of memories.
Years worth of pain,
years worth of struggle,
years worth of fighting,....
and years worth of being there, by his side.....watching out for him.

I cannot keep the tears from forming.
I cannot push down the lump in my throat...

While tucking Parklen in to bed tonight he whispered, "I am going to miss you, mom."
I worked hard to keep it together.....
"Man, I am gonna miss you too buddy....so much."

So, here we go....
sending Parklen out into the world, a little bit more.....
my glass egg.
A piece of my heart.....a piece I would rather keep close.
Thankful that his brother will be there....
and that the school is a short drive from my house....
even shorter drive from the parking lot....where I could possibly stay....


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Spinning....

It would seem that sometimes life takes us where we are not ready to go.
Life keeps moving when we would rather it stood still....
Like a child spinning round and round until they are too dizzy to stand....
Life can be that way.


When we hiked earlier this month....Parklen spent time running....


My life is that way.

You pray for something for so long....
and then it almost surprises you when the answer arrives....

The cells that Paysen gave to his brother at the beginning of summer....
Those glorious little cells...
You know the ones...
Well, it seems they were given in vain....
They did not complete the job they were intended for...
They did not work.
They had no effect on Parklen's being.

Devastating.

The hours Paysen spent in preparation....
the time he spent with a needle in his arm....
The tears he cried.
The fears he felt...

All for nothing....

I cannot even bring myself to tell him.
because it hurts my heart,
and I know it will hurt his too.

Where do we go from here?
Its possible that they will take more cells from Paysen down the road....
In a more invasive way....to achieve a better result.
How do I even entertain this in my head.....
I can't

I have to focus on other things....
Be thankful that I was given a child that is willing to help his brother out....in huge ways....no matter the outcome.

I have to focus on the fact that Parklen's doctors (in spite of my biggest fears)
have decided Parklen should go to school.

So, there it is....the prayer I have prayed....
the prayer I have asked you to pray....
"Let Parklen be a boy...."
and next week, he will be a boy that goes to school.

He will start out slow....a few hours each day....and hopefully work up to a full day!

I cannot lie.
I hate this.
This answered prayer...the one I asked for....
It is plaguing me.
Sending my glass egg...
into the world of children and germs and the uncertain.

I am sure it can mostly be blamed on the fact that I have seen it all....every moment in which Parklen has fought....and I feel uneasy about test results and data....and little things I notice more and more each day.....

But.

Sometimes life requires us to spin uncontrollably.
and then try and stand....
dizzy and shaken from the journey....
Sometimes you have to just close your eyes and trust....as you regain your footing.

Sometimes, you just have to send your kid to school.

Tears welled in my eyes today as a reporter doing a story on the boys, asked Parklen, "What makes you nervous about going to school?"  and he replied, "I will be away from my mommy."

Me too buddy....


Saturday, August 22, 2015

Hero among us






















There lives a super hero among us....
A boy.
A young man....growing ever quickly.
He is full of mischief....
often times ornery or full of sass....
He is boiling over with love...
in the form of kisses and hugs....

He is my daily reminder of many things....
to find beauty in each moment...
to appreciate the difficulties that parenting can bring....
to stop and smell the roses,
to breathe deeply....just because I can.

To always remember....
things that have been....

To soak up...
things that are...

And to look forward...
to things that will be....

As I look through pictures from this summer I find myself drawn to these two...
They speak volumes to my heart....
They illustrate strength....childhood....wonderment and imagination....
Because inside the body of this little boy...
resides a big hero.....

Remember that today is ever fleeting...
Tomorrow will be gone before long,
and this moment, right here and right now....
could very well be your last....

Embrace the beauty,
find it everywhere...

and when you are certain that the beauty is nowhere to be found....
Think of Parklen....
it helps me when I feel discouraged..
Because God has done amazing things with this boy...
and the best is yet to be..


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Success

Today was a day like many others....
We woke up in Denver....
The five of us in the same room......
The city sounds bustling outside of the Brent's Place window....

I snoozed the alarm a couple times....
cursing Murphy's law and how it holds our children snugly tucked into their beds when we have places to be.....and wakes them when the morning is free from schedule....

We armed ourselves with a little breakfast and a whole lot of coffee and headed to the hospital...
We passed through the sliding glass doors....the same doors that have opened for us for over 7 years....the thresh hold that reveals another world....a world that is far from foreign to us...
There is little that is quite as classy as exam room selfies.....we. are. dorks.

Appointments...
Check ups.
Doctors,
nurses,
staff...
friends.

They surround us when we walk into clinic....
Each turn of a corner reveals another smile....
these people that I have known for longer than many friends back home...
the comments....
"I barely recognized Parklen."
"Had you not been with him Amanda, I would have never known who he was!"

I could stand and listen to past and present medical teams talk about Parklen for hours...I really could.  I hang on every word....the past, the present,...hopes for the future....
Its my language....


Paysen and Phinlynn disappeared today while Parklen was getting checked out by his doctor....
I never, for a moment, worried about where they were....I already knew...
Before long, Paysen busted open the door to the exam room with excitement....
He thrust a trophy up in the air and exclaimed, "Look what I got!!"
On the front of the trophy,  a bright neon post it attached to the front with scotch tape...
it read, "Best donor ever."  He showed everyone that trophy....
Sitting in the back seat of the Honda after leaving the hospital, he quietly polished it with his blanket.....
Phinlynn followed not long after with a smile.....

The clinic is packed full of people I love...people that love Parklen....
I honestly wish I could take these people home with me....
They know so much about our struggles....our fight for Parklen's life.....

Today, while talking with one of my favorite humans, who has worked with Parklen since he was very young...she said to me, "It was two years ago when Parklen almost died for the last time....can you believe he made it? That was hard."
My mind shot back to that time and the degree of hard it was....my chest tightens when I reflect upon those days.....and yeah....it was hard.
 I mean really really hard....

The overall consensus of the day was, "Parklen looks great."
It will be a few days to weeks before we hear back on his test results.....Then we will find out how well he received Paysen's gift this summer....The results will decide when he goes to school....what the next step will be....

You have got to love cell phone pics!  Today as I packed a bag I thought, I probably won't need my camera today.....

Phin has a rocking spidy hand!



As we left the hospital we walked by the radio station to see a group of super heroes standing on the other side of the glass....the beckoned us inside.
The kids met each one...including the officers in uniform....
They talked about each of the heroes...
Which was their favorite....
My eyes filled with tears when Parklen told the group of costumed men why Paysen was a hero... "He gave me his bone marrow..."
Paysen stood in front of us all as they clapped and cheered....
A SWAT member walked up and handed Paysen a challenge coin...."This is because you are an awesome hero..."
I love moments like that.
LOVE them.
My momma heart swells and I nearly explode with the pride I feel for the children that God has gifted me with....

 Tonight I am choosing to put the worries I have on the back burner....
I am choosing to bring the wonderful things that are happening right now to the front of my mind...
 Like Parklen eating in a restaurant with his family.....

Like sitting and watching Devan entertain all three kids with facts about fish in Bass Pro shop....
Like the amount of energy that Parklen has....
The dinner we spent together..
The little moments....
the little moments filled with the big feelings....

One woman today said it best..... "Parklen is a success story...."
Yes he is....
He is.
A success story....
of faith,
family,
fighting....




Monday, July 27, 2015

a walk.........

Two years ago I sat in a hospital room.....
I glanced back and forth between my sleeping son who lay upon the stark white sheets and the beautiful young social worker that spoke to me behind a yellow mask.  Her gloved hands pointing to paragraphs on paper and her stiff yellow gown awkwardly moving about.  Her words went in and out as my concentration faded.

We were having a conversation about the future.
The transplant.

She was giving me options....walking me through.
She began to tell me about different places where we could live during the process.
There was a couple who donated a house in town in which families could live during their medical journey.  Expenses paid, lots of room, short commute.
and then she began to tell me about Brent's Place.
A close by apartment building filled with people going through similar journeys, and a staff of which she insisted was incredible......

Feeling overwhelmed by her every word I declined to make a decision in that moment.
As she left the room I felt so afraid.
I had a home.
I had a place to live....
and I hated that I had to choose another.
but If I have learned a thing from my hardships,
I have learned that what I love or what I hate weighs very little on the direction that life turns.
Life goes its way.....
and the feelings I have rarely steer its course.
Often, the only option is to grip tightly to the steering wheel as it moves its own way....

I had a conversation days later with Devan when he and Paysen came for the weekend.
I explained that I didn't know what to choose....the house or the apartment....
I went on with my words for half and hour before Devan turned to me and said, "You need the people. You need the support."   He knew that he would not be there to support me as he would continue on with school....and he knew that someone needed to be.  He knew that his wife alone in a spacious house....would be disastrous. He knew.

Upon filling out the application and information for our future home I felt still nervous....  I could have never anticipated the massive effect that that apartment building and the occupants within in would have on my life.

We returned home yesterday after spending the weekend at a Brent's Place family reunion.  Families from multiple states gathered to eat and play and show support for those that suffer.
Something happens to my heart when I surround myself with people who have swam through similar depths....  Who's trail resembles mine.  Who's understanding of my pain is real.
And often times, I feel more at home in a room full of people I have never met, just knowing that they know. Knowing that although our journey is far from identical, they still know.  They know about the sorrow, and the joy that comes with childhood illness....
The boys got to count down to the start of the race!

Parklen kept up with Paysen during this years fun run.....they ran and danced and splashed and drew and boogied and partied through the course, and I trailed behind with my camera just trying to capture a fraction of that day.







Phin getting down in the dance zone.

a hoop race
















This I Parklen with one of his favorite guys, Brent's father....the founder of Brent's place. Turning tragedy into something beautiful.

The path was lined with signs...
Each sign showing a photograph of a Brent's Place child.
Some living and breathing survivors..
Others, smiling photos of child that lost their fight here in the world....
Parents walking....some with their children...others in memory of theirs....
I felt blessed to be watching my son run ahead of me....
and I prayed for the families who longed for one more moment with their lost one....
Their bravery was not lost on me....the strength it took to walk those steps while missing their child....I cannot even begin to imagine.




Later in the day,
Parklen swam the afternoon away in a pool filled with his peers.  Children.  Fighters.  Survivors.. Siblings and brave parents.  Paysen never too far away from his brother.....
I watched them as I had a conversation with another mother....
Her words spoke to my heart as she shared how her faith grew during her daughters treatment....
the mother of 5 quietly speaking and her words loudly piercing my mind.... "I wouldn't change it..."
I feel the same.
The times spent deep in the valleys of life have made the tip tops of the mountains and every place in between, more beautiful, more meaningful and more precious.

and that is something to be thankful for.