Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Monday, May 03, 2004

Cycle 4, Day +25: About Sean

Sean has been an amazing little trooper through all of this.

Last Friday at Sean's school, they had field day. They had tried to have field day the week before on Friday, but had cancelled it due to rain.

Field Day was scheduled for the same day as Steven's lumbar puncture, but Doug was able to go with Steven, so I went to school with Sean.

This last Friday also brought rain, great amounts of it. But the kids were ready to go, had shown up to school in shorts instead of their uniforms, and a festive air permeated the classrooms.

The feeling increased when a truck pulled up with a cotton candy machine and a large astrojump. Not wanting to put field day off for a second time, they figured out they could hold all their events in the gym instead of at a neighboring park.

Sean had a great day, participating in a suitcase race where the kids ran with a suitcase full of clothes to one end of the gym, stopped to open the suitcase and put on all the clothes, then ran back to the other end, stripped the clothes off and put them back in the suitcase.

Other events included an egg race, a hoppy ball race, and other fun competitions. He jumped himself to near exhaustion in the astrojump.

At the end of the field day events, I left to see Steven in the hospital. His teacher asked me if I could return early to pick him up.

The principal of his school took me aside as I was leaving for the hospital to tell me how much they would miss Sean. She was in tears as she told me what a great kid he was, she said the second grade teacher was so looking forward to having Sean in her class next year that she cried when the principal told her that Sean was going back to California.

At the end of Sean's school each day, right before dismissal, the entire school gathers in the gym for announcements and prayers. Doug, Steven, and I all went to the gym for the end-of-school gathering .

After prayers, the principal got up and announced that Sean would be leaving, that Sean's brother Steven had finished treatment at St. Jude, and that our family would be travelling back to California.

Sean's teacher presented him with a book of letters to him from each of his classmates, telling him how much they would miss him. The principal then called Doug, Steven, and I to join them at the front.

They gave us a bag of gifts, souvenirs of Memphis, barbeque sauce, cornbread mix, barbeque seasoning, a photo of Elvis, a beanie baby mascot from their baseball team, a baseball bat for Sean, a photo collage of downtown made by the art teacher, a handmade card signed by the staff-- a treasure trove of little gifts.

Sean, despite all of his protestations about living in Memphis and his emails informing family members that he was coming home, has finally made a niche for himself, and is sad to be leaving his class and his Memphis friends.

The experience of picking up and moving to Memphis for a while on really short notice has made it clear to us that we can be a family and settle anywhere if we need to as long as we keep together.

But, the transitions, the leaving and the arriving and the process of settling is difficult. We'll miss our dear friends in Memphis, but we're looking forward to putting the leaving behind us and coming home to begin again the process of settling.

We love you all.

-- Kathleen

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