After leaving JoJo at Camp Clara Barton and Nick at Camp Joslin, Jeff and I said good-bye as we headed off in different directions, he on his way to a fundraiser and me to our family’s cottage in Maine.

It was three hours away. As I drove away, the departure brought a familiar memory to mind, ultimately bringing me back to the summer after I graduated from high school. I’d taken a job a few hours away.

The day I left for it, as I drove away looking into the rear view mirror, I could see my parents waving good-bye. A feeling of freedom swept over me. That was then and this is now (minus the momma van and a few pounds).

As I drove north, I began thinking about how far the kids have come since their diagnoses. Jojo was only four and Nick was six years old. Both kids are eleven now, seeking greater independence. Baby steps, I thought: Going to camp is one of those baby steps.

As for me, during my car ride I turned up the volume of my music, and sang at the top of my lungs. I released emotions I’d buried because there hasn’t seemed to be a right time to let them out. By the end of my trip, I melted in the quietness and peace that I felt.


As I laid down to sleep later that evening,I didn’t set my midnight alarm to check the kids as I routinely do. My mind was blank, my body limps. My kids were safe. I fell into a deep, deep slumber; even if it was only for a moment.