My Valentine Benny

I have often spoke about how I couldn’t get through this without Tim. I saw one of those “inspirational” quotes the other day that totally reminded me of him.

The couples that are ‘meant to be’ are the ones who go through everything that is meant to tear them apart and come out even stronger than they were before. 

And it’s true. He has redefined rock for me. I am beyond blessed. My parents and my sister have both been amazing in this whole process as well. But the other day I was reminded, as I so often am, that there’s another person I couldn’t do this without. My Benny.

Ben and I have had some challenging times. He was just six when I met him and as loving as he always has been, it was a hard adjustment becoming the not-Mom. I can’t imagine how challenging it has been for him, learning how to live in two different houses with two different sets of “parents.” He’d sometimes tell me he wished his Dad and Mom were still together and went through a period of making sure that every time I picked him up from extended day that it was very clear that everyone knew that I was not, in fact, his mother but “just my dad’s girlfriend.”

Those days are past and now when I see him, he proudly tells his friends this is his step mom, usually after he has dashed across the room to give me a big hug. I love him so very, very much. Days like yesterday, however,  just blow me away of how lucky I am to have this amazing little loving man in my life.

I had just walked into Benny’s extended day to pick him up and bring him home. Because of how I had felt last week, we hadn’t seen him in ten days or more. He knows I’ve got cancer, but neither Tim nor I want him to see me when I am feeling really bad, so he had just stayed with his mom. After we had the chemo-I’m-going-to-lose-my-hair talk, he very generously offered me his Halloween rock star wig, which cracked me up. Anyway, I hadn’t seen him a while and after a huge hug, and introducing me as his step mom to his friend Selia (who then with big bug eyes was like you have TWO moms???), he went to grab his bag and jacket and his extended day teacher walked up to me.

Are you Benny’s stepmom? Yup, I said with a smile. He have a good day?

Oh yes, he was great. You have breast cancer?

I looked at her slightly odd. Um, yes…

We are sisters, she said. I am an 11 year survivor.

Well that’s so nice, I thought, although still a bit confused, as she gave me a big hug.

She leaned in a little closer. Benny told me the other day. He said I haven’t been able to see my stepmom Niki in more than a week and I miss her so much. They think I don’t know it’s because she has breast cancer and she’s sick, but I know. And I know she’s going to be okay. I just love her a lot and wish I could see her. 

I immediately started crying and the teacher told me she told Benny she had had cancer too and now she’s okay. You know how loud I am now, she had told Benny. You are very loud, he told her. If you were okay, then I know for sure she’s going to be okay too. 

God I love that kid. As I write this, he’s been working on his rubber band bracelets for like 3 hours and had a boogar hanging out of his nose at least that long (he’s saving it for a snack later) but he warms my heart like no other. Yeah, Benny, I’m going to be okay.



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