Celebration of Life - Volume 2
This was a busy weekend for us party-wise. I know, everyone has holiday parties to attend, but ours had special meaning.
On Saturday, we had a party to celebrate one year since Dante's last chemo treatment! It was also an excuse to get together with friends and family at holiday time as a thank you for all of their support, hang out for a couple of hours and watch about 20 kids run around the yard having fun! As I looked around at all the chaos, I was pleased that no one's kids were crying.... except ours! (Dante had a couple of minor playground mishaps - no biggie.) Carina hung out with all her other "moms", cupcakes were smeared on many clothes, and the mimosas and bagels were delicious!
Thanks to all who came to play!
After that, we were all pretty pooped, but Dante wouldn't give in for a nap. The kids were in bed by 7 and slept good through the night.
Today, we went to the American Cancer Society's Holiday Party for all the kids who go to the All Children's Pediatric Hematology /Oncology clinic. It's a big affair at the Vinoy, catered by Publix. ("How do we know that guy?..." "...Isn't that the bakery manager at Publix!?") There was Raymond, from the Devil Rays dancing and leading a conga line. (Interestingly, they had everyone hold on to a long roll of paper towels instead of any other actual people. Ahh, how soon we forget the days of having to keep away from cooties.) There was face painting and balloon animals, games and music.
And of course, Santa. They have Santa come in and he personally hands all the kids and their siblings toys and they take photos for you. Dante got some Thomas the Train track that he was very excited about. Carina got a little baby doll with bottles, that we will now never be able to get out of either of their hands. (Luckily, there are 2 bottles.) Dante also got a Power Ranger blanket and a stuffed animal for Carina.
I recall going last year and being so overwhelmed at seeing all the people that were going through the same thing as we were. This year, we met 2 families that are about where we are and super thankful for it. They both had kids that looked great and were about a year since last treatments. The 2 boys next to me looked so happy and spirited and excited. The mom was telling me their story and it was just unbelievable to hear what they had been through and have no idea from looking at them.
Through both events, Dante seemed to have no real idea of what the big deal was and why we were celebrating him. I think he just thought it was all part of the Christmas-time thing. He has specific memories of the hospital and obviously knows the clinic very well, all positive memories. He recalls not having hair, but no idea why. I don't think he has any idea how sick he was, because as a toddler, you can't understand or have no context to put it in. It just is. Which was kind of how we approached the whole experience anyway. I think I would like to keep his memories just the way they are now. All happy, just hanging out with fun people at different places.