Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A special friendship

A few posts ago, I wrote about saying goodbye.  It was a post that was spurred on by our second son having to say goodbye to his friend, his best friend actually, Hunter.  Hunter and Jonathon have been in the same class for two years, and while they haven't always been the very best of friends, the past 12 months has cemented their friendship.  They giggle over fort making, cat chasing, playing tag, sleepovers, and can banter back and forth about Minecraft for hours.

In February Hunter's family received the shocking news that Hunter has an osteosarcoma, or cancer in his outer shin bone.  Hunter and his Dad left Peru suddenly, but not without one final sleepover for Jonathon and Hunter and a sweet, but unsure goodbye between the two boys.  There were many tears shed at our house, selfish tears from Jonathon that his best friend was leaving him, and very sweet, sincere tears over the seriousness of Hunter's sickness.  We explained things the best we could without scaring Jonathon and promised that once Hunter felt up to it, we could connect the boys by Skype and they could talk all they want about Minecraft or whatever.

As we knew Hunter was undergoing chemo, we also knew that he would be very sick and lose his hair.  If you know anything about chemo, they basically take you to the brink of death and then nurse you back in hopes that it will kill/contain the cancer so it won't spread.  I had remembered my Dad going through chemo when I was in third grade when he was diagnosed with cancer, so I was able to relate a bit to Jonathon and we continued praying each day for Hunter.  As Jonathon waited for what seemed like an eternity, finally the boys were able to "see" each other through Skype and continue their friendship across seas...the one difference this time was that Hunter had no hair.  I prayed that it wouldn't bother Jonathon or Hunter--that neither one would feel uncomfortable, but would just jump back into their friendship as if they were next door...and that's what happened!  It makes my heart smile just thinking about it.

After a week or so of talking almost every day, Jonathon decided that he wanted to shave his head to match Hunter. We had briefly thrown out that idea even before Hunter lost his hair, but if you know Jonathon, and how much he loathes haircuts, I was positive that he would never in a million years make such a decision.  So you can imagine my shock, when Jonathon came home from school and told Hunter over Skype that he was going to shave his head!!  Jeff and I were overjoyed that he would show such solidarity for his friend and promptly went out that night to buy razors to do it.  The whole ordeal was a mere 2 hours, in which Jonathon sat quietly (also rare for him) and contemplated the decision he was making to show support for his friend.  Jeff was inspired by Jonathon's decision, and he too shaved his head that night; we prayed for Hunter throughout the shaving, remembering the battle he is fighting.  Through all this, we want this to be about Hunter, his battle, and this friendship---if people can look at Jonathon and be reminded to pray for Hunter, then that is what we want.  Curiously enough, Jonathon even inspired a couple of the teachers at their school to shave their heads for Hunter!!!

I'm so proud of my son and his loyalty to his friend.  We do pray for Hunter daily and know that through the sickness, the pain, the hair loss, and the uncertainty, we have a Sovereign God who is faithful, loving, and in control.

We love you Hunter, Tom, Sara, and Penielle!!!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Gearing up for the end of the school year...already?!

It's the middle of May...and I'm counting down the days until the end of school!!  Actually, I'm counting down the days I have left of making lunches.  And it's 21.  Yeehaw!  This year, we are headed back to the U.S. after school gets out, in fact we leave the day after school gets out--no monkeying around for us, we are excited to be going home for a few weeks! We have a 7-week visit ahead and we are already making lists of things we want to eat, see, and enjoy!!

Here in Peru, the end of the American school year marks the beginning of winter since we are in the Southern Hemisphere.  So while some of you are enjoying the warmer weather, we are breaking out the jeans, sweaters, and scarves and packing up the shorts, tanks, and flip flops.  I don't welcome winter, it's not my favorite season of the year, so this year I count myself fortunate that I get to enjoy the Peruvian summer and the U.S. summer.  It's the best of both worlds!

The end of the school year also means more goodbyes.  Some of the boys' classmates are leaving and returning to their home countries, while others might transfer schools, or their parents will be transferred to another country.  It's not easy for me either, as many of my sweet friends are also moving on to other adventures and jobs...I will miss them dearly.

So here are a few fun "Fall" pictures as the kids spend time with classmates, friends, and each other.