On October 18, 2018 I wrote this letter to Caleb after he was put to sleep for his first radiation treatment. In that moment we had no idea what the future held for Caleb. Today that future is here! Today Caleb went back to school full time and today Caleb finally gets to be a kid again. While his journey will never really be over, today we closed the hardest chapter and began a new chapter. We have looked forward to this day for longer than I can remember, however, as crazy as it sounds, I am not sure I was prepred for it so just as I did that day back in October 2018, I wanted to share with you guys and with future Caleb just how this morning felt…..
531 days ago we were getting ready for school like we had so many times before. We were rushing, running late as always and it felt like you were moving in slow motion trying to get dressed and I yelled at you from the hallway, “hurry up, you are moving too slow”…you were 3, you had no concept of time, I should have been helping you or have gotten up earlier to give you more time. In an instant, before I had a chance to tell you it’s ok and help you…for what felt like an eternity….your face changed, your mouth was moving as if to tell me something was wrong but no sound was coming out…you looked up and saw what I can only imagine as excruciating fear in my eyes….and as you have done so many times since that moment, you looked up at me from the floor, scared but brave, ready to tell me it would be ok….trying to smile through it, but something was VERY wrong….only half of your face smiled….a moment that is burned into my soul forever.
Your life, our lives, would and will never be the same after that moment. I would never in a million years wish cancer on my worst enemies enemy, but I wouldn’t trade for the world what you have taught us about life, about family, about love, about strength, about people, about giving and most of all about the moments that are truly important in life.
You have faced the worst time any human, let alone any child, could have in life and every one of those days you made others smile, you made them laugh and you showed them it’s ok to wear a cape, jump in a puddle, wear your PJs all day (even out in public) and be yourself. But most of all you showed us all to smile, be a superhero to everyone you meet, give to others, say I Love You, enjoy life’s moments in the moment and never leave without giving those you love a big CALEB HUG because you never know when the first day of your 531 days might begin….531 days since that moment that changed our lives forever I am sitting here in a deafeningly quiet office, realizing how much I am going to miss you coming in and serving me “food”, asking “can I hang out with you and watch my iPad”, coming in to say to my team (your extended family) on video, coming to close my office door before you play a loud game, asking me if I have any meeeeeetings and just coming to say hi for no reason. I don’t know if I realized how much I would miss those thing, BUT that will never compare or outweigh how HAPPY and PROUD I am of you today, how I thank GOD for answering our prayers to get us to this day.
Today, 531 days later, we got up for school, we weren’t in a rush, in fact we took extra time to enjoy the morning, you got dressed at your speed, there was no yelling and we were on time for your first official day as a regular kid back to school. I hope you have an amazing day, enjoy a room that doesn’t have a hospital bed or beeping machines and most of all enjoy being a kid again, we LOVE YOU!
Thank you God for answering all of our prayers and Thank You to every single one of you who have supported Caleb and our family every single day along the way. Our thoughts and prayers have been answered in ways we have only begun to see and I can’t wait to see the amazing chapters Caleb has ahead. Don’t believe me, lets take a stroll through those 531 days…..
…August 19, 2018 – Picking out new T-Ball stuff with no idea you would only make it to one practice…
August 30, 2018 – The day our lives changed forever…
…September 1, 2018 – The day you showed us even Brain surgery wouldn’t keep you out of the kitchen or off your trike!
…September 3, 2018 – Jumping up and down as you leave the hospital with a fresh new scar
…September 11-14, 2018 – It’s time to fight!
October 18, 2018 – Radiation Day 1, always smiling!
October 21, 2018 – Bald twins!
October 22 – November 14 – 35 rounds of radiation and still smiling!
November 14, 2018 – Caleb’s first trip home in 2 months!
December 10 – Back to the grind for 8 more months
January 2019 – Some tough days…
February & March 2019 – Ain’t nothin gonna keep me down!
April & May 2019 – You can take my hearing, but you won’t take my smile!
July 2019 – The first scare, as brave as the day things started! Now lets go home for good!
July & August 2019 – Home, school and more hospital stays….
September 2019 – I’ll show you brave….give me that swab and when I’m done I’ll just go run a 5k!
October 2019 – Clear scans & the first trip back.
It’s my turn, let’s share St. Jude with the world, and have a little fun doing it!
January 28, 2019 – NO MO CHEMO!
February 12, 2020 – The proudest moment and the loudest quiet. Caleb, I am so proud of you, I have learned so much from you and I am so happy to see you get to be a kid again, even if it means I have to miss this smiling face coming in my office everyday! We LOVE YOU!!
Thank you all for your thoughts, your prayers and all of your LOVE since the second you learned of Caleb and the long journey ahead! And Thank You God for answering all of our prayers and carrying Caleb and our family to this day, a day that will forever be burned into my soul and better yet, bring a Caleb smile to my face everytime I think about it!