"Our Little Trooper"

"Our Little Trooper"
"Let me live, that I may praise you!" Psalm 119:175

Thursday, May 5, 2016

"I would gladly give my life for you (Charlotte)- I really would."

Rowan is a very smart little boy.  There's no doubt about that.  However, reading is not something that has come quickly or easily to him.  Math, History, Science, Art, Bible...no problem, but reading-he was just not interested in.  A few months ago though, I gave him a copy of Charlotte's Web to read, and we started doing the study guide together each week for school.  Something just finally clicked.  

Initially, he was simply excited because of the title.  He has a dear friend named Charlotte, whom he of course met in the hospital, in the art room, on the oncology floor.  They are just precious together, and it is an even more beautiful friendship because of all that they both have had to fight through. When he started reading the book, he wanted me to text Charlotte's Dad immediately, to show her the title.  I remember her Dad texted us right back to tell us that Charlotte meant "little and strong", but when I told Rowan that, he looked surprised and said "Oh, I thought for sure her name meant 'prettiest smile ever'!"

(You can see why he thought that, right?...)

Rowan has enjoyed every minute of reading Charlotte's Web.  And no matter what the reason, I have just been so relieved that it lit a fire in him, and that he finally wants to read something...anything!  Then, ironically, the day Rowan was released from the hospital this past April, I got an email advertising that The Magik Theatre in San Antonio was going to be performing Charlotte's Web on stage.  I jumped at the opportunity to buy tickets for myself, Rowan and Charlotte, and Rowan was sooooooo excited to ask her to join us!

This past Sunday, the day finally arrived.  Rowan and I picked Charlotte up to take her to lunch and the show, but our day ended up being so much more than that.  We had a beautiful afternoon together.  The show was awesome.  Sure, 2 of the 3 of us cried our eyes out, but I'm pretty sure all 3 of us now have memories that will last a lifetime.  

Just look at the pictures that follow.  My heart was about to burst the entire time.  Watching both of these fighters, these miracles, outside of the hospital, enjoying the day, enjoying each other, seemingly perfectly normal healthy children...it was overwhelming...but I loved every minute of it!

We walked through historic La Villita....

Had an impromptu photo shoot...

Enjoyed lunch on the River Walk...

Complete with a tic-tac-to battle royal, selfies, pink lemonade, and french fry mustaches...

And finally, made our way to the Magik Theatre...

It was an adorable production.  Their eyes were peeled to the stage the entire time.  And ironically, even though I know the book...the story, very well already, I found myself hanging on every word as well.

Near the end, it hit me...and it hit me hard.  I began to cry.  Charlotte had sat herself right between Rowan and I. (She's so cute.  She needed to be able to talk to either one of us, or both of us, at any given moment.)  She saw me getting choked up, and started smacking me with her program.  I just smiled through my tears.  Then, when the show concluded and the lights came up, her jaw, as well as mine, dropped, as we discovered Rowan was crying too!

That made me cry even harder...which made Charlotte laugh even harder.  She couldn't understand why we were crying.  She wasn't mean about it, she was just so surprised.  She consoled Rowan, but still just looked bewildered at me.

It looked like she was trying to figure out why I, an adult... a parent, would be crying at a children's play.  Especially one about barn animals.  Let me explain why I was...which I later discovered is also why Rowan was.

Obviously it is inherently sad that Charlotte dies after giving her all to help Wilbur, and after laying her 514 eggs, which she will never get to see be born.  Rowan said that is what made him cry at first.  But, it was more than that (for both of us).  We talked abut it later that night, and here are a few of the quotes that really struck a cord with each of us...myself, like never before:

"After all, what's a life, anyway?  We're born, we live a little while, we die."...."By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle.  Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that."

People often ask us how we can do the various charity events we do, or help other people at all, when we: "have so much going on ourselves", as they say.  I always answer, "If all I did was focus on my own worries, I'd go insane.  Everybody has "stuff".  Helping other people helps take the focus off of ourselves."  I always go on to confess that it it doesn't just help others... it puts things in perspective for us as well.  I never realized that this quote, from a favorite children's book of mine, may just have molded my life more than I knew.

"I'm no good at making speeches.  I haven't got your gift for words.  But you saved me, Charlotte, and I would gladly give my life for you- I really would."

This one made me immediately think of all of Rowan's special friends.  Friends he met at, or through, the hospital or infusion clinic.  All of whom, have fought for, or are still fighting for their lives...and even some who have unfortunately lost that battle.  Rowan will be the first to tell you that he would give his life for any one of them...and he means it.  He really means it.  He shared with me later that this line made him sad about those friends too.  He wished he could have saved them, like Charlotte saved Wilbur...even if it meant giving his life for them.  Then he told me he would do the same for Charlotte, gladly.  He told me that he already lost too many friends, and he didn't want to lose any more, especially Charlotte.  Such a poignant line...and I realized how deep a cord it struck for him.

"Wilbur never forgot Charlotte...she was in a class by herself.  It's not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer.  Charlotte was both.   THE END"

This closing line just made me cry because I am a sentimental old softy, and because I treasure the friendship Rowan has with his sweet Charlotte.  She is small, but yes, she is strong!  She is winning her battle with cancer, and I hope she and Rowan get to spend many, many years together, building upon this friendship that began when they both were so sick.  I know he will never, ever, forget her as long as he lives.  She is in a class by herself.  And her name should also mean "prettiest smile ever"!

Thank you E.B. White...

And thank you Magik Theatre.  It was not all tears!  It was an unbelievably memorable and special play for all 3 of us.  And both Rowan and Charlotte were thrilled to go out into the lobby afterwards, to get some of the actors autographs, to have their picture taken with them...

 ...to get t-shirts and souvenirs, and to continue their photo shoot on the way back to the car...

Thank you for joining us Charlotte...and for being a "true friend" to Rowan.  We love you very much and pray for your continued health and healing!

1 comment:

  1. Awww this little guy always amazes me with his mature way of thinking and his sweet heart bigger that this whole world. God bless you all, i love reading your blogs.