Monsters lived in my closet for many years…alligators under my bed.
To sleep soundly, I never closed my eyes before closing the closet door. When I watched and fell in love with Disney’s “Monsters Inc.,” I realized they weren’t as bad as I’d originally thought. Boo seemed happy enough.
Alligators rarely bother me anymore but there was a time I couldn’t cross my room without making a pathway of “Little Golden Books” across my white-shag bedroom carpet. Tip toeing from “Poky Little Puppy” to “Doctor Dan” then leaping from the last book to my awaiting mattress with a shudder…and two arms covered in goosebumps. Still, to this day, every now and then when I put my foot to the floor, I feel the panic begin to rise…just for a second.
This last few years, I’ve faced monsters and alligators again, but they’re nothing…absolutely nothing…compared to Aidan’s.
About a week into his very first year at “big boy” school and just two weeks before he was to become a big brother…Aidan Reed wasn’t acting like his silly, energetic five year old self. A visit to the doctor and blood work revealed that Aidan’s mom and dad, Katie and Wylie, were right to question the change in their precious little boy.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia .
Shaken to the core, they began their journey. While Aidan’s prognosis looks pretty good or as some would suggest he has the “good kind of leukemia”, his family is facing the horrifying reality of suddenly having a sick little boy. Already he has completed his first round of chemotherapy and through the process, had an infection and a clogged PICC line. Aidan’s leukemia was quickly brought to remission…but he will face two years of chemo and various challenges as he goes along.
He’s brave and strong…he makes people laugh…he loves to draw and has a wonderful imagination. Aidan is a bright light to his family and his new baby brother. The decision was made to put off school for another year to concentrate on Aidan’s health. While his Mom is taking care of the family and a brand new baby, his Dad is working hard…taking the time he needs to spend with his wife and two little boys.
Aidan has a long road ahead and on the days he’s not feeling too great he enjoys one of his favorite activities….drawing Monsters. Aidan befriended the creepy little beasts at two years of age after a visit to a Halloween store. He enjoys everything scary and frightful…delighting in silly masks, creepy costumes and freaky clowns. Each creature is fascinating to this five year old and he draws them from his vivid imagination. His Aunt Mandi, in her attempt to do something…anything…to help, started to write Aidan’s story and in the process sold a few of Aidan’s drawings. The idea took on a life of its own and Mandi is now helping more than she ever could have dreamed. She’s helping her family shake down a few of those monsters by selling Aidan’s wonderful crayon and marker art.
While Mom and Dad considered selling their home…they can now stay put. Katie can continue to stay home to take care of her two precious boys, Wylie can breathe a little easier from the financial strain of it all and Aidan can get everything he needs as he heads into his future with his great big glorious smile.
I’ve faced a lot of monsters but never could I imagine the fear I’d feel if one of my children were ill. I’m quite sure the Reed family of Kansas are celebrating this Thanksgiving Day unlike any Thanksgiving they’ve ever celebrated before. Thankful for the love and support of family and friends, the joy of children, advancements in medicine and monsters.
Thanks to my friend CA for passing along Aidan’s story. She treats adults and children at the Cancer Center in Halifax. Fighting monsters with passion and commitment.
I’m making a path of books to my bed tonight…there’s a lot of scary stuff lurking out there.