I was worried that this year for Thanksgiving that we would feel alone and singled out. I was worried that we wouldn't be missed at the family dinner. I was worried that it wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving, and I was worried that I would find nothing to be thankful for. All of my worries were for naught. We had an amazing Thanksgiving. We were missed at the family dinner, and a beautiful blog post on my sister's blog was dedicated to our family. We were together at home- our little family- together. I got to cook a feast for 4. We read the newspaper and searched the ads. The kids danced and laughed as they played together. We watched ELF and A Christmas Vacation just like we always do... but this year was different.
Different because it was less chaotic, less busy, and less hurried. Brian got to work on the car. Jackson went outside and rode his bike and Hailey had a nap. I baked, and cooked, and enjoyed making a meal that I was proud of. It was different than any Thanksgiving that we have ever had. But I also was thankful this year for different things than I have ever been thankful for.
There are a few things I want to share here for which I am grateful. I feel more grateful for the gift of life. I have never realized how short and fragile life is. I am grateful for my family, especially my children. I am grateful for the amazing way that Jackson has tolerated his cancer treatments, and I pray that he will be cancer free soon- and that the long term side effects from the chemo and radiation will be minimal. I am thankful for doctors, nurses, techs and medical advances that give us hope.
Other things that I am grateful for are things that I never knew anything about until 2011. Platelets, hematocrit, stem cells, Bone Marrow Transplants, chemo drugs, neutrophils, white blood cells, doctors, nurses, techs, nurse practitioners, immune systems, radiation, rescue medications, antibiotics, feeding tubes, central lines, TPN, child life specialists, hospital buddy dolls, chemotherapy drugs, MRI's, CT Scans, radiation therapy, a warm shower at the hospital, and having a washer and dryer available to use at 2 in the morning when you sick child throws up all over everything.
Cancer makes you thankful- as twisted as that sounds. Cancer makes you more aware of the little things, and it gives you perspective. Perspective on life and what really matters.
Cancer- as horrible as it is, has helped me be more thankful for the things that are important. And as we enter this Christmas Season, our family is more focused on being together, and less worried about gifts, and the commercial aspect of Christmas. We feel more gratitude for the gift of our Savior, for His Atonement, and His loving sacrifice.
We have hope. Hope for a better year in 2012. Hope for a cure. Hope for a cancer-free son. Hope for health and wellness. Hope that we can continue to be grateful, and avoid being bitter and angry. Hope is a strong thing, it is sometimes the only thing that keeps you moving forward. We have hope for a brighter future, but most importantly- WE HAVE HOPE.