Tonight I was going through Kenton's school bag looking for something for a project that an angel dad is doing for Childhood Cancer Awareness month in September.
I didn't find what I was looking for, but what I did find were assignments that Kenton completed in December, just one month before he died. Kenton worked so hard through his entire treatment to stay caught up with his class, to complete every assignment. In fact, he had a 4.0 gpa for his 7th grade year. That's pretty incredible considering what he was going through on a daily basis.
I was smiling through tears reading through his reading response log. We never did get to finish reading The Ranger's Apprentice series together. In fact, there is a new book, the final book of the series, that was just released not too long ago. I actually put it in my cart at Wal-Mart and then put it back on the shelf. I need it to finish out the collection, but that day it was just too hard.
My memories of reading with Kenton, especially during round 1 of chemo and the count recovery phase of round 1 are tender, special, and some of my most favorite memories.
Once he was cleared for minimal out of the room time, each evening, we would head on down to the 3rd floor patio (which is no longer there!), dragging the IV pole and meds as necessary, with a book and "Duke" (Kenton's Build-A-Bear german shepherd that McKayslin had made for him), and sometimes "finger lights" if it were late at night so we'd be able to see. Sometimes we'd take turns reading, but mostly, Kenton would sit next to me, holding my hand, head on my shoulder, and I would read out loud to him, just like when he was a little boy. I love that we were able to have those moments - to have those memories.
I chuckle a bit remembering when we finished reading Stone Fox... I was in tears. I always cry at the end of that book. Always. Kenton looked up and me and started laughing. I playfully punched his arm and told him to be nice. He laughed and said, "Mom, how many times have you read this book?!" That was a patio night.
Other nights, if it were stormy or cold, or when Kenton wasn't allowed out of his room, we'd snuggle up in his bed, under his "Katie blanket" and read while waiting for night time meds.
And so, tonight, finding those reading logs, I remembered. And I cried. And I missed my boy just a little bit more, wished for more time, for more memories. And I said a little prayer of thanks for 12 1/2 years as his mom.
Missing you always. Loving you forever.