We took several friends to a hockey game tonight to celebrate the end of a long season. It’s ‘working’ season for my husband and he’s gone a lot of weekends. This was the last home game and he was offered a great deal on tickets and also arranged for one of our friend’s kids to ride the zamboni during the second intermission. So for all of us, it was a big night out. And for the kids, it was super exciting.
My son and I got there a few minutes early so we could distribute tickets, and we had to weather a torrential downpour on the way into the game. Everyone entering was soaked, and my son grabbed a seat on a bench right inside the entrance, then proceeded to wave at every fan who entered the building.
Minutes after entering, an elderly lady who was having trouble catching her breath entered, looked at my son and asked if she could share the bench. ‘Sure,’ he said, gladly, and scooted over. He has no concept of ‘stranger danger’ and his friendliness is absolutely contagious.
She looked up at me and glanced at the logo on my jacket.
‘You’re supporters too, I see.’ She said, nodding to my coat.
I was wearing, for the first time in the year plus since I’ve had it, the jacket that was gifted to me at the last charity run for our friends who sponsor families of kids with childhood cancer. Our good friend won the race, and gave me the jacket she won, since they all participate in my son’s honor. As much as I objected, she insisted I keep it. For the last year, I had thought it would be too small, but for some reason, tonight, I found it in the closet, put it on, it fit perfectly, and was the right weight for the cool rain we were having on this weird Ohio winter evening.
‘We are,’ I said, and smiled.
‘We love Nellie,’ she said, referring to the founder of the charity.
At that moment, my son, at four-years-old – who was adopted less than a year ago, over a year after we lost our first born son to cancer – looked over at her and said, ‘My brother is in Heaven.’
I looked at him, swallowed hard, then looked at her, and said, ‘And that’s why we love Nellie.’
She smiled and said, ‘Our grandson is going through it now.’
‘I will pray for you,’ I promised.
Please visit NC4K.org to offer help to pediatric cancer families.