As I write this I’m sitting on a plane to Tampa and pinching myself that this moment is real. I’m sitting here reflecting on all we have been through and all we have learned. We learned so many lessons and I wish I could have learned all of them in a different way, but in the end I wouldn’t trade a thing. Starting with us, as a family, learning it’s ok to accept help from other people. When people offer help they really do mean it. There are some amazing people in this world, and this experience in some ways has restored our faith in humanity.
We learned that it takes a while for a place to feel like home but you have to hang in there, and eventually it does. We will miss the local BBQ joints, and our favorite donut place. It took a while for us to discover our favorite things, but Memphis did eventually feel like home. I wish I would have embraced it sooner, but it’s not such a bad place after all.
We trusted Tyler to a completely new school we knew nothing about. The teachers, staff, and parents embraced us and gave Tyler the best year we could have ever asked for.
And St. Jude… I don’t know where to begin but it was worth every single second we spent away from home to have Caleb’s treatment there. From everyone who visits there, works there, or receives treatment there, you can’t help but be forever changed by the experience. We will never forget all we saw, experienced, and learned there. It will always feel like home and we will spend the rest of our lives giving back to the place that gave us Caleb.
And as a family, we have grown stronger because we had no choice. Tyler is the best big brother, and Caleb is the bravest kid I’ve ever met. We grew closer because during most weekends and downtime all we had was each other. And can we get a hallelujah for sharing 1 bathroom for 10 months and not killing each other!?!? ha ha!! But seriously though, I am NOT sad that that part of the experience is over. We are all ready to have our own space.
And even though we have said bye to Memphis, for now, I will never forget the things we have learned there. I look at my children in a different way, and in a way I could only know by almost losing one. Material things are nice but not important. We did without a lot while we were there and although we are blessed to be going home to a lot more space and luxuries it is comforting to know we don’t need them. All we need is each other, and may we never forget that.
I’m glad that most of this experience is behind us now. We don’t take anything for granted anymore. Life can change in an instant. We have learned to appreciate how special life is every single moment. Every day with each other is a gift and we can’t wait to make the most of it.
Hello Tampa! We are officially home!!!!