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What a week. Braedan has his last day of first grade tomorrow, complete with a picnic and field day at the park (complete with Mom and Austin of course). He has requested dinner at the Colony, true to form, so it’ll be grilled cheeses and chicken tenders out on the patio for the Gallagher boys. And then there’s the big Kick It kickball game on Friday.

Our teams are slowly filling up and if I combine them into one (which will probably be wise for the under-6 set who hasn’t had much experience with kickball), I should have the requisite fifteen players. It’s supposed to be a really fun evening, with food for sale and a bounce house obstacle course and a community-wide game of musical chairs. CNN was there last year to do a national feel-good news story so who knows what kind of media coverage it might get this year.

And … it’s not too late to sign up! (You knew that was coming, didn’t you?) A few people have had trouble with the website, so here’s the best instruction I can give you: Click here, then scroll down to find either of the two Team Austins. Click “Sign Up”and after you kindly decline to create an individual fundraising page (unless you really want to), it looks like nothing’s happened, but you just need to scroll down to your team again and fill in the boxes. And if you are coming, wear a red shirt.

Some friends of Austin and Braedan had a lemonade stand yesterday to raise money for Kick It. When I told them, they naturally wanted to have one too. So we’re gonna have a Kick It, Drink It, Cure It Lemonade Stand early on Friday afternoon (I could have used one today on my run in this 90 degree heat!). Braedan, ever the negotiator, asked if they make $100, could he keep $50 and I said no, if they make a hundred dollars, then they’re one hundred dollars closer to a cure. Not to be discouraged, he asked if they make $1000, could he keep $50. “Sure!” I replied and he said, “Great … except we probably won’t make $1000.”

Probably not, honey, probably not.

I want to echo the words my mom expressed in her comment yesterday: Thank you all so much for your thoughtful consideration of our situation and for caring about us all so deeply. It is powerful and moving to know you’re out there rooting for us, hoping for us, feeling worried and saddened and relieved and happy on our behalf.

We both feel like a huge weight has been lifted, not only the weight of deciding but also (and especially) the weight of treatment. It’s not like we’re riding off into the sunset without a care in the world or anything. Obviously, we still have Monday, which is huge (I mean, how much would it suck if something showed up after all this agonizing? Ugh, I guess that’s a fear we’re gonna live with for a long long time.) But even if those tests come back clear, we’ll still be very closely watched, whether for cancer or for kidney failure. We have an awful lot of land mines yet to dodge before we can truly claim victory.

But we also know that there’s no point in making this choice if we’re not going to enjoy it.  So we feel a little more relaxed, excited for short summer trips to Chautauqua, a sense of freedom and eventual swimming. Tonight the boys are sleeping over at their friends’ house together, a first for Austin, who is very pleased with himself. This sleepover, however, is only a consolation prize because they’d both been eagerly anticipating Breadan’s first sleepover at the hospital, scheduled for tonight, and were disappointed when we told them we weren’t going! Ha, I suppose that’s proof of what a good job the hospital does in making the experience seem fun.

Tomorrow, as the temperature climbs toward 80, Braedan will  have his first lemonade stand, for which he’s been busily making posters. Stop by — we’re on Wellington, just north of Fairmount; he’ll probably start around 11.  I wish I could report that he was raising money for some worthy cause but he really just wants enough to afford his own “spark scooter.” I guess that’s worthy in its own way.

So, we feel as if we’ve suddenly stumbled upon a summer, one that seemed elusive just a week ago. It is a huge gift and you know we are going to make the most of it. None of us knows what tomorrow will hold, my family least of all, but we will take these moments and we will fill them with as much love and laughter as we possible can.

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April 2020
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