He was SO very happy to see all of his friends again. He has gone to school with most of these kiddoes since kindergarten and they are just AMAZING!!
I once wrote about how one day we were at the park and a little girl who didn't know him asked her mom what was wrong with Braden when he spoke to her.
Because of his autism, his language is quite delayed (but I still think he's awfully sweet and cute).
I was very taken back by that reaction because the kids he goes to school with are the exact opposite of that. They embrace him, love him, and help take care of him.
His classmates and friends go out of their way to include him in things and to help cue him to participate. I really cannot adequately describe to you the admiration I have for each of these children.
Many people could learn a great deal from them. They care and love openly and completely just because they do...not because anyone rewards them for doing so, not because they are being paid to do it, not because they are getting any recognition...just because they care.
Ummm...that's pretty amazing, remember they are only 8 years old...and his preschool peers did the same when they were 3.
Yup...we could ALL learn a lot from them!
His classmates and friends are simply the kind of people I want to be like. Selfless, kind, and beautifully caring. Their families are the same way...seems like the apples don't fall far from the trees. :)
Then there are the teachers.
He has some very special grown ups that he loves more than words can explain at that school. Each and every teacher he has ever had is now a part of his heart. He remembers each of them and comes running into their arms every single time he seems them. And he talks about his Principal every day too! And the secretaries (and the turtles in the office) and the custodian...adores them all!
He always has an aide with him during the day and those ladies are so special to us. He adores them as much as he loves us. They are family. He asks for them every single day. He is absolutely, positively in love with them. He has two new ladies joining his "family" this year and we are so excited to have them aboard as well!
Sooooo....when it was time to go back to school for the first day, he was excited and happy. He was pretty much giggling the entire morning while listing each and every person he was going to hug.
He could not have been happier when he walked into that building. You could FEEL he love he has for everyone in that school.
And..it is contagious.
While it was one of Braden's "best days ever", it was a hard day for mom. I was SO very happy to see him beaming and exploding with excitement for his first day of school. I had tears when he saw two of his best friends and hugged them so hard I was afraid he might choke them! :)
I was so happy for him...
So grateful for the day...
Humbled that he GOT a first day of third grade...
In awe of God's grace for this gift...
And so very sad that it might be his last first day ever.
Remember, I'm a hopeful realist. I don't kid myself about what his cancer brings and I understand the reality, odds, and future we are all facing, but I am following Braden's lead and trying to just keep smiling.
He's still fighting...We are still fighting...we haven't given up and we do believe in miracles...
Right now you would have NO idea anything was wrong with him...other than he gets tired quicker thanks to the chemo.
That is no small gift. It is HUGE!!! We are still getting good time.
The mds had not progressed before he began his shots of chemo...that is the biggest blessing ever!! We have HOPE that the shots can keep it slowed down and buy us more quality time before he has to have a bone marrow transplant with donor cells.
That is frightening...it may not work, he may die during transplant, he may have horrific long term damage/effects from the chemo used for transplant when so many of his body systems are already compromised due to 5.5 years of treatment, or the neuroblastoma may come back if his OWN cells (which we will kill off) have developed an immune system that is keeping dormant cells quiet (and then we are in BIG trouble with the neuroblastoma)...
It's not an ideal situation with MANY bad things that could happen...
It might work.
And it could CURE him once again.
That was not what we were originally told...no hope is what we were originally told, but our Doctors kept digging and researching and fighting.
And, yet again, we have been given a small glimmer of hope in what was a completely dark tunnel.
I cannot even wrap my head around how tremendous this blessing really is...
It's a glimmer...but WE HAVE A GLIMMER!!!
Thank you Lord!!
We are going to need another miracle.
It's that simple, it is going to take a miracle if he is going to survive to see his first day of fourth grade.
I believe in miracles!
Because I live with one. Four years ago, they told us there was no known cure for his relapsing neuroblastoma but he's been in a second remission for 2.5 years.
So I managed to hold my tears back on Thursday...barely...and I had to make a quick, rude, and embarassing exit to get out of the school before I lost it, but I did it. Mostly. A few tears may have escaped...
cANCER didn't get that first.
His beautiful friends did.
His teachers, aides, and Principal did.
TAKE THAT cANCER!!!
and cANCER lost!