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.





Thursday, July 9, 2015

get your kicks........

A while back, Parklen received a card in the mail from someone he has never met....

This card.





After reading the words to him through tear filled eyes....
I smiled.
He smiled....

We talked about how awesome it was that Jen was thinking about him all the way across the country when she ran all of those miles...
even though....they had never met.
We talked about how he used to be unable to walk or run....

We talked about how everything that happens to us is a chance to show God's work....

We talked about how someone is always watching....
and the way that we handle hardships can help to build someone else's faith as well as our own....

We talked a lot.
and then I cried a little more.

The past 7 years have really been hard.
There is no doubt about that.
There have been moments when I thought that I had taken all I could as a mother...
there have been times when I thought for sure, Parklen had taken all he could...

In 7 years,
I cannot count the nights of terror and worry...
I cannot measure the stress...


But, when my son receives something like this in the mail....
I can say,
it was not a loss...

Because, Parklen has persevered...
he has.
He has fought, and he has won many battles....
and through it all...
God has remained...
Parklen has touched my life....
and he has touched the lives of many others...

I am so grateful for people that reach out.
I am grateful that whenever I see Parklen sporting his new kicks....
I will be reminded of the race he has run....
The hurdles he has jumped...
the miles he has traveled...
and I will be reminded that others think of him....often.
When Parklen wears his new kicks...
he smiles,
he says he is faster and can jump higher....


Thank you Jen,
for the shoes...that represent so much more than just rubber soles on the ground....
for the reminder...
for the love...


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

rerun.

Man, although I have epically failed to write about things of late.....there have been some major happenings in the lives of The Henderson's.

I feel almost guilty for slacking.....but then again, I have barely found the time to take a shower lately...

The end of year craziness of the school year seemed to begin my cycle of crazy the last few months, as it does with most mothers with school aged children.

Paysen completed the 2nd grade...he excelled in most everything this past year...learning so much about himself and what he loves to do...

Parklen finished Kindergarten.  He didn't just get by, he didn't barely get through....he did well. He excelled... He learned.  Now, when you get through with Kindergarten, there is a little thing known as Kindergarten Graduation.... A milestone that many parents treasure.....and kids celebrate...

I knew for a few months that Parklen would not be able to participate in the graduation.  After all, there would be kids there..... and kids are what Parklen is not quite ready for.  I had cried a little about having to miss seeing him up on stage with his classmates, singing the songs and receiving his diploma.  After the tears, I accepted the fact and tried to think of other things.

Parklen was gifted with a great team of teachers this year. They worked together to make Parklen a part of the day.  They didn't just accept that he wouldn't be able to participate..They called him at home with the iPad and his home bound teacher held "him" on her lap through out the entire program, even carrying him up in front of the crowd to accept his diploma.  He sat on our couch and watched it all happen.... and although my heart felt a bit heavy at the site of him here and them there, I couldn't help but feel grateful for him getting the chance to be involved.









Each day he grows in strength....
It could be he is growing because he eats more than any one other person in this house....
Or it could be that he is growing because of his brothers amazing gift......

Paysen had the opportunity to give again.
And trust me when I say this, It fills my heart.

It wasn't bone marrow this time,
they only needed blood....
I say only, as if an 8 year old giving a bag of blood is no big deal...
it was.

Paysen was so brave...he never shed a tear through out the entire process...
He smiled,
he tried to hid his nerves,
and he braved through....




















 The moment that the needle left his arm,
he released a giant bundle of stress, in the form of tears.
He cried for a long time...
Probably a combination of relief, built up stress, and medication that he had taken to calm his nerves.
but he cried.
And neither his parents, nor Parklen or any other person could calm him down.....

He needed time,
and orange juice.
and cookies....

I hope so badly that one day, these pictures will speak to his heart the way that they speak to mine.
Because they tell a story,
A story of a purpose....
a purpose greater than ones self.
A purpose of giving...
of being brave,
of being a hero.

I fully believe, that it is not easy to be Paysen...
he carries around with him an immense responsibility.
He has witnessed countless hours of hardship with his brother...
he had learned how to care for him,
when he could not care for himself.
He carries with him memories,
memories of times when he thought Parklen would die,
The things he carries....
they are heavy.

But my GOD, that kid shines.
He shines a light that is so bright....
He is so special.

After a week in Denver for him to donate the new cells, we headed home to begin our summer vacation....

It was a whirlwind of a first month....
Traveling,
Cabin staying,
Wedding watching,
Swimming,
Camping,
Fishing,
Dirt,
water,
bugs,
bunnies,
food and fun....

And although, I am sure that I will post more extensively on some of those things...
it feels good to write out a bit of a rerun of the past few weeks.