(originally posted by Wendi)
Today we began our "vacation" to Houston. Originally we thought we had to leave the house by 8:30 this morning, but then we realized that I had misremembered the time. Thankfully, we didn't have to leave the house until 10:15. This was great, because it gave us time to repack everything I had already packed. I had been in a rush and we were out of room with no more luggage available. Frank to the rescue! We reorganized and ended up with everything organized plus extra room. Packing skill +7.
The trip was relatively uneventful. It was the first time Bella had flown (that she remembers). Everything was a fun new adventure - breakfast at Beaches, the security line, moving sidewalks, being yelled at in Vegas for trying to take a picture by the slot machines, her grabbing the hand of a stranger, and finally making friends with our neighbor on the final flight. Her name was Felicia. She shared with me about apricot kernels and their ability to fight cancer; I shared with her about Classical Conversations. She was very patient with Bella, which was good since she melted down when we landed in Houston. Her ears really bothered her, and she made sure everyone knew it. Meanwhile, Mark and Jim got to sit in the last row with a woman who was not fond of flying. Did I mention that it was a very bumpy ride? We then navigated the intricacies of getting a cart, retrieving our luggage, and finding a cab.
Everywhere we looked, there were signs for MD Anderson. Needless to say, by the time we had checked in and headed down for dinner, everyone was a bit...snippy. Once dinner was on the table and the requisite trades had been completed (I don't like this Mac and cheese, I want your hot dog!), everyone seemed to mellow.
And then, the other shoe dropped.
Mark suddenly looked up and asked, "How long will it be until I'm a normal kid again, instead of a kid with brain cancer?"
"Well, never really. It will always be part of who you are now," I slowly replied.
His face began to turn red, and I could see the tears welling up in his eyes. I suggested that he and Jim head up to the room to lie down. He agreed. Before he was five feet from the table, though, he had found something to joke about, and he turned back to flash me a smile.
Since then we've been relaxing in the room, working on looms sent with us by friends, playing video games, watching tree house and pool design shows on animal planet. Everyone has relaxed. "Now this is getting fun," Mark remarked.
The only other observation is that it is strange to be in a place where you know that everyone is there for the same reason. To stay at this hotel, you have to be undergoing treatment at MD Anderson. The older couple who passed us. The people laughing on the other side of the wall during dinner The teens looking for the pool. Is it one of them? Or are they here with someone? I find myself looking for clues, and perhaps spoilers too. Because I still don't really know what this will look like for Mark.
No one does. But I find myself endlessly searching for clues anyway.
That's all for tonight. The weekend should be boring. Thank you for your prayers, gifts, encouragements, and love. Thank you to God for His never falling love.
Goodnight, from Houston.