Way back before my blog entries covered fun issues like cancer, death and heartache, I had mused about the ongoing battle with Vampboy to get him to sleep through the night, in his own bed. This week, we reached a profound milestone in that quest when — for the first time in almost two years — VB went to sleep in his very own room. It’s a work in progress, with the padding of little feet making their way back to us in the middle of the night, but so far we’ve had one full night of successful “sleeping like a big boy”.
I thought, when it came, that this joyous turn of events would leave me sound asleep, sprawled out across the vast ample space of a childless bed. However, much to my surprise, the week has left me completely tired, having not slept through a single night. I think the reasons are two-fold. First, I’m so excited about not having to curl up in a corner and protect my face, stomach and “lower area” from midnight kicks, that I don’t know what to do with myself.
The second reason is more of a surprise to me — I actually miss him. In the haze of our attempts to sleep last night, Vampmommy said the same thing. For over a year and a half we’ve slept in our protective cocoon, always having the warmth of him right next to us. The reasons were totally practical — given all of the tubes, IV’s and overnight fevers and vomiting that came with treatment, there was no safe way to have him anywhere else. Of course, there was also the unspoken need to know at a moment’s notice that our son was still alive and fighting. While on many mornings I may have awoken bleary-eyed from interrupted sleep, or bruised from a foot in the stomach, I grew to value the comfort that came from being within arms reach at all times.
As I make the transition to having our sleeping quarters released from the jaws of cancer, I have also lain awake this week thinking that this adjustment could have been very different. Not to long ago we were faced with him not only leaving our bed, but our lives entirely. Feeling that open space next to me at night has connected me to those fears again — and to the relief that this transition only puts him down the hall.
We will never share the ignorant luxury of most parents — that our child will have a life free of disease and pain — but as we continue to celebrate the simple gifts of normal life that come our way, VM and I have decided that now is the time to do a little giving back of our own. To this end, we’ve decided to put on sneakers (which, for a person who has word nothing but Dr. Martens for the last 18 years, is something major) and participate in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk.
There are so many people — many of you — that I credit for keeping us going through the ordeal that is still a part of our every day life. But VB is alive, laughing and running and dressing up like David Bowie, because of the treatment he received at Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund Clinic. While at times it seems like there will be no way I can repay anyone for the grace and gifts that were given, participating in this “little” stroll through the marathon route seems like a place to start.
Should you feel so inclined as to support me in my quest to walk farther than one should normally, you can visit my page here and make a donation, or click the new link I’ve added on the right of this page. We’ve set up a small team of wacky-walkers, so through my page you can also visit the team page and make a donation that will be split among all of the members. Each member of the team is asked to raise a minimum of $250 — of course my goal is higher! Raise more than $1,000 and you get a special shirt. Raise more than $5,000, and I think you get carried on the route in a litter held aloft by Madonna’s hunky backup dancers, while toddlers dressed a cherubs sprinkle rose pedals along the sidewalk.
Regardless, every little bit counts. The money raised ensures that VB and others diagnosed with AT/RT or other pediatric cancers will continue to have access to the best support the world has to offer.
Now, I’m off to begin accumulating kick-free sleep. Looks like I’ll need it!