Updated 11/28 – at the bottom of this post
My young son has a best friend that he’s known pretty much from the time he could speak in complete sentences. Just the mention of her name causes his eyebrows to shoot up and his mouth to open in surprise, as if he’s just remembered that she exists and that she could very well be hiding around a corner waiting to tickle him. Both kids seem to be on a different wavelength than others their own age, but when they’re together they become kinetic energy made visible. They tumble, sing, play cooperatively, chase frantically around the room, hold hands and hug with a joyfully innocent intensity that astounds me.
When anyone asks him who she is his response (without any coaching from others) has always been, “she’s my girl.”
Not “girlfriend” or “friend”.
I am thankful that I live in a world where we have a chance of experiencing or witnessing such powerful bonds.
I am thankful I am capable of learning as much about life from my son as he is from me.
I’m thankful to all of the people that I’ll likely never meet who protect our way of life and our liberties so that we can appreciate these moments and relationships at our leisure.
But right now I’m mostly thankful to the MRI tech that discovered His Girl’s brain tumor today, and to the surgeons now trying to figure out how to remove it.
In the midst of the hurricane of long trips, traffic, cooking, in-laws, exes, screaming kids, over-eating, and unwanted political conversations we should remember to take a moment to breathe and perhaps be thankful that we and those we’re spending this day with are all able to do just that.
Maybe this year when Great Aunt Dorothy leans in for her annual semi-mustachioed smooch we won’t have to just pretend to appreciate it.
Hope you’re all able to spend the holiday with your own “my girl”.
On Thanksgiving day we took my son to spend a couple hours with His Girl in the hospital. The two of them laughed and played the entire time – often so boisterously that nurses and other parents in an otherwise very quiet hospital wing came by to peek their heads in and smile. Not a single disapproving look from anyone – including our normally shush-prone selves – during the entire visit.
My son’s Girl entered surgery the day after Thanksgiving, less than two days after the tumor was found. As of yesterday she was awake, speaking and smiling again. She’s been released from the ICU and is recovering nicely in the children’s unit. We’re hopeful that she and my son will be able to see each other late this week.
I’m honored and surprised that so many of you were moved to write to me. Thank you for all of it. I’ve tried to share your sentiments with my son but the scale of what’s happening is a bit larger than such a young kid can fully digest. Know that he’s thankful nonetheless, and that he’s looking forward to his next play-date.
And the thousands to come after.
I opened this door as some sort of personal catharsis, but now must close it out of out of belated consideration for the girl’s privacy (and the privacy of her entire family). I will not be posting further updates. As jarring as this has been for my family, I cannot begin to understand the emotions and fears that hers is dealing with. I don’t think I’d appreciate having my own family’s challenges shared with the world – even if they were anonymized – so it doesn’t feel right for me to create an ongoing narrative from someone else’s.
My apologies to anyone I’ve troubled.