"Eat this, and know your mother loves you," she cooed. By my second meatball, I had all but forgotten the boo boos. The message was clear: Food is love.
Although my heart aches from his absence, it also manages to smile whenever I think of the special times we shared. And we sure did have many of them.
My mind reeled and my feet were frozen to the promenade beneath me because I had no idea who she was. I should have known her instantly. She was one of Kylie's classmates and a friend since the first grade. Still, her name escaped me -- a fact that rocked me to my core.
At 80 years of age, my dad's had his share of hard knocks, from losing a son after a long battle with mental illness to supporting another adapt to life in a wheelchair. Yet while I'm clearly biased, I believe he's one of the most loving and lovable men you'd ever meet.
Without realizing it, travelling made me grow in a way that actually helped me prepare for this situation and gave me the tools I needed to cope better.
I still don't know how moms do it, but I have deeper appreciation for them now. Wives and mothers, if you want your partner to understand how it feels to be the default caretaker, convince your husband to take a trip with your child -- and without you.
When one is at the start of a long, twisted road that includes the potential mortality of their child, words simply cannot soothe. They can, however, aggravate. So I thought it might be helpful to look at some things that struck us the wrong way when we were facing our crisis.
Christmas is like a tumbler full of mirth at its finest. When family and friends come home to celebrate the cheer of the season, you drink to your heart's content and are filled by its warming sway. When you are hurting, the tumbler has a jagged edge.
3. Wake up when you wake up. Be it with the alarm or at 2 a.m. Don't fight it.