My eyes open and scan the room. Dim light is coming in through the side of the curtain, and Vampboy is sleeping quietly next to me. Beyond that, I see the pillow VM left in her place so she could go get ready for the day without Vampboy rolling off the bed.
The room is quiet, except for the occasional hum of the pump giving Vampboy his nutrition. This morning it’s Pedialyte — clear liquid flowing through a clear tube that travels from the pump down the bed, towards the end of another tube that will complete the journey into his stomach. The sound of the pump has become part of our home’s ambiance, and it’s sound in the quiet of the morning is somehow soothing.
Vampboy is facing away from me, and with the aforementioned feeding tube on his opposite cheek, I see before me the unbelievably soft face of my son, uninterrupted by signs of his disease. His skin has the warm glow of a full night’s sleep, and he breaths slowly and steadily. I take the moment to stare in wonder that is my son.
Shortly, he stirs — and while I’ve seen many mornings greeted with cries and flailing of a kid who probably doesn’t feel well, today is different. His eyes open slowly, and I can tell that he’s staring off at the pillow before his face. He breaths deeply, his arms rising and his back arching in a luxurious morning stretch. Then, slowly, he turns to look at me. With a smile and a whisper I say “good morning, son” — to which a smile responds, big and toothy. Another stretch, a little giggle, and he rolls on his side to give me a hug.
Moments of heartache, frustration, stress and fear wash away. This moment belongs to me and my son. Cancer can take away much, but in this moment it has vanished. We’re just father and son, greeting the day and each other.
There will be time for battles later on today. But I hold this moment for as long as I can, freezing it in my mind. A reminder of what was, and a vision of what will be again.
More than anything else, a reminder that I love being someone’s Dad.