Monday, November 29, 2010

GLOW? More like EXPLODE!

Hey, you! You adorable bald guy with the mustache above this here post. Yeah. I'm talkin' to you, Gideon. I just want you to know: I plan on seeing real hair stubble grow on that face someday. Had to let you in on my plans, is all. And guess what else? You may wear your hair and your facial hair however you want as you grow up, and I will never say anything other than "You are gorgeous!" You may use this post someday when you are way into scraggly, long beards and hair that constantly covers up your eyes. I mean it. You be YOU. Stick around, kiddo. I can't wait to see how you'll turn out. You're so incredible NOW... To see what you've accomplished by the time gray starts peppering your facial stubble and hair will be phenomenal.

And now, for the blog. (Thank you for giving me a moment to have that little private conversation with Gideon... You patient one, you!)

I hung up the phone today with a friend and said, "If I have to pay-it-forward for all of the amazing things given to me or my family, I would have to become Mother Teresa." So, you can see my conundrum. I am no Mother Teresa, I'm Mama Manda. And, may I say... I am one over-the-moon thankful mama? I am.

Gideon is doing well. He has not been sick in the last few days. He is weepier and wants to lay on me a lot, but I'll take the overly sensitive/owie instead of the overly sick ANYDAY! We go in for labs and the rigamarole of Clinic tomorrow morning. We'll know where we're heading more clearly after that. But for delightful now, I'm spending my days letting my worn out boy lay on me and love me. He is back to being my "Gideon Third Arm," and I am okay with that.

I have been on a BLOG READING KICK as of late. I read blogs about other kids going through the same cancer as Gideon. Sometimes I wonder why I do it since it gets me all nervous and I check Gideon over from head to toe constantly, but here's the truth: Things could be much more difficult. Each case is so very unique. I'm convinced the dolphins are beating the sharks in my boy.

Yes, the dolphins are winning, but I'm noticing that Gideon gets down more often than he ever has in the past. We dropped Brody off at school, and I looked at Gideon in my rearview mirror. He had tears in his eyes and his precious bottom lip was practically getting traction on the street. I asked him what was wrong. He said, "Brody gets to be around people. I want to see people. I want to see people smile. I want to hear people laugh!" Tug. Tug. Tug my heart! I completely get this. I am exactly the same way: I adore people (even the crabby ones) and find them fascinating. My energy is amplified when I'm with anyone. Anyone at all. As long as it is a human, I will chat it up! In fact, I invited the animal removal man (Mark) in for a chat when he was checking for any more flying squirrels the other day. We talked for over forty five minutes. Be careful if you come over: I might not let you leave.


"What would you like to do, Gideon?" I asked him, ready to head south to Disney World, that's how much I wanted to get a smile out of that boy! You think I'm kidding. I'm not. I would have pointed the car south and driven there with all this kid has been through. We'd worry about clothing and sunscreen and money once we got there.

"I want to go to the MALL!" he yelled.

Easier than a three day road-trip, huh? I have no idea how much his immunity has dropped since it was last checked, so I put a mask on him and loaded my purse with antibacterial paraphernalia. I told him we were going to walk around, look around, listen to the people, and stare at the people (I taught him how to do this without being annoying. It's an important lifeskill for a mommy to teach her nosey son)...but NO BUYING ANYTHING. He has been getting "stuff" a lot lately, and I want him to know that it is not always that way. (Sidenote: I must say, for all he is "getting" lately, he has not lost his appreciation for every tiny thing!) He nodded in agreement. His little eyes were twinkling and he was just completely stoked to be going OUT. Just out and among the living. It felt like the best medicine for the moment.

Gideon oooooed and awwwwwwwed about each and every miniscule thing: the Christmas decorations, the music, the smell of the food court, the way a lady walked "SO FAST" with her "clippety-clop shoes..." and "SOOOO many pretty bags!" Yes, he was soaking it in with each of the five senses, I promise. We stood outside of Santa's chair area and Gideon whispered through his mask, "Here's where he'll sit. Here it is! I will see him here sometime. He is building me my Lightning McQueen Powerwheel right now. That's why he's not here." I didn't rush him. I let him drag me wherever he wanted to go. We stood and looked at the fluff circulating in Build-a-Bear for what seemed an eternity.

Then we came to a little kiosk that sold stuffed animals that unfolded into humungous furry pillows. He pulled my hand and practically ran up to them. "LOOK! LOOK, mommy! A DOLPHIN one! Awwwwwwww!" I was waiting for the pleading and for my inevitable "NO," but no plea escaped his lips. Just a giggle. He just appreciated the sweetness of that stuffed dolphin and we moved on.

And here is when I started to cry. Dang it. Will I ever have a day without tears? About five minutes later, I heard a, "Ma'am! Excuse me, ma'am?" I wanted to turn around and say, "You talking to me? Don't you mean 'Miss'? My mom isn't here..." Oh, wait. I am a mom...aren't I (where has the time gone...)? Okay. So I turned around. A man in a business suit was running toward me. He must have been Christmas shopping on his lunch break. He said, "I'm sorry, I couldn't help but to witness how sweet your little boy is and I have been watching you two smile and laugh at everything. I saw how his eyes lit up when he saw this..." and he pulled out the stuffed dolphin pillow, "I hope you don't mind, but may I give it to him? Merry Christmas!"

Humanity!!! I didn't know those Hallmark Hall of Fame movies are FOR REAL! They ARE! And then...tears. Blubbering thank you's. I gushed over his random act of gorgeousness, and sweet Gideon asked me, "Is that okay, mommy?" before he accepted his gift. Big sigh.

Before we left, an elderly woman walked up to me and with diamonds ready to drip from her animated eyes she said, "They said I wouldn't make it! But I did! I lived to be a grandma!" She pointed at her cancer awareness pin. "He'll be a survivor, too! Don't give up!" Then, after I was able to talk to her for awhile (poor lady probably had somewhere to go...but, alas! I wanted to chat), she felt comfortable enough to show me her amazing tattoo behind her shoulder. It was a cancer awareness ribbon. What a FUN grandma! That's it...I need a tatt. Soon.

We got home, and Gideon laid down on his dolphin. He kept rubbing his face on the fur and making those cozy squeaks of delight from the texture and warmth of it all. I didn't demand a nap. Now I'm glad I didn't.

The doorbell rang and it was our mailman. Thank goodness I got the gab out of me or that sweet man would have been late to all of the other houses. In his hand was a package. The return address? DONAVON FRANKENREITER!




I think my face turned eight shades of red. Remember Gideon's chemo song I posted awhile back? "GLOW"? That is a Donavon song. Stop it. Stop the madness. My heart was racing and I screamed for Gideon.

I think Gideon thought something was wrong because he never comes that quickly when I call him, mostly because I feed him burning fuel-like meds right after I call his name these days. "What's wrong, mommy?" he asked with worry etched all over that precious face.

"DONAVON FRANKENREITER sent you a package, Gideon!" I yelled.

He jumped up and down and immediately started to sing, "GLOW! I wanna see you GLOW!" We hooked up the iPod and put on our favorite Donavon playlist. Then Gideon opened the package. It contained: signed drumsticks, a T-shirt, a signed poster, a signed set-list by every member of the band, mustaches (I will describe Donavon's "MUSTACHE MANIFESTO" another time...this is already a lengthy blog), an ALL ACCESS pass for their tour, stickers, and an autographed CD. Really? Now famous people we love are spoiling us, too? Woah. I was floored, as was Gideon.

Remember Gideon's tears from earlier today? They seemed to have been shed a million years ago. Except for mine. AGAIN. Sobbing and blubbering and wah-wah-wah and wow-wow-wow! More amazed tears...

How did this come to be? How did Donavon know about us? I would like to point my finger at a friend of mine who I am CONVINCED works for the CIA or something that involves craftiness, cunningness, lack of fear, and ingenious people skills. The girl is not afraid of anything...nothing intimidates her, and she is just a complete riot to be around. Apparently, she also does not have any problem emailing and calling a band she knows has been integral in our healing over here in the Schripsema household. DAWN MARCINIAK. She emailed the band with a link to my blog (the one that references "Glow"). The band wanted to do something for Gideon. After conversing many times with the drummer, Craig Barnette, she handed over our address. I love YOU, Dawn. And, gosh! THANK YOU DONAVON and HIS BAND! You live out the positivity of your music, that is for sure!

Again, Donavon: You made a lovely day even lovelier!


  1. What an awesome post! Still praying for you guys!

  2. amanda you are an amazing writer and mommy. all my admiration + thoughts of healing for your beautiful gideon... xoxo

  3. Read ur blog for the first time since seeing ur link on Donavon's page. After reading this post, I decided to start from the beginning. Wow. U r an inspiration. I'm a surfer. Tell Gideon I'll tell the dolphins in the ocean his story and his story will spread like Marlin's on Finding Nemo! I will follow ur journey from here on out. Blessings to u!

  4. I need to stop reading this blog before going to work... now I must go reapply my mascara. Thank you!

  5. Tears... that's it.... just tears... another beautiful blog. Blessings for Gideon, you, and your family. Thankfulness for the man in the suit. <3

  6. Amanda, you are an amazing person! Brody and Gideon are so blessed to have a mother like you.
    This blog has become a daily read for me and each entry fills my heart. I often find myself saying "I can't wait to be a mother so I can love my children like Amanda loves hers" So, thank you for sharing this experience with so many people!

  7. You were so excited to hear from Donavon, but in truth Donavon should feel honored to inspire a soul such as yours. Your posts wow me, your life perspective fascinates me. I heard you once say that if you love on the world, the world will eventually love you back. You don't need to pay anythiNg forward. You have already payed it just by being you.