I can tell Brandon's health is improving. He rarely has headaches or stomach pains. His rashes have improved. His ability to pay attention has increased. But the biggest encouragement lies in the fact that he's verbalizing his pain.
When we first left the house, Brandon seemed unmoved by our losses. He struggled with self-control and cried easily, but overall, he went with the flow. He was 7 years old, after all. I remember searching for safe housing in Arizona. It was a stressful, difficult process. Yet there was Brandon, playing football with an empty water bottle in a hotel parking lot. Whenever we stumbled upon a park he'd be the first one out of the car. Anything new excited him.
He even adapted to our food changes and rarely complained. He found a way to make a fun snack with just about anything, including raw goat milk kefir and flax crackers. He said, "It tastes like cereal."
Last week Brandon got into trouble and was sent to his room. I don't remember the issue, but I remember sitting down with him on his makeshift bed (a cot with a Spiderman cover).
He began to cry.
For the first time since we left our home, Brandon put words to his tears. "I hate it that we had to leave our house. I hate it that we had to leave all our stuff. I hate it that I had to leave my friends. I hate it that we can't eat normal food. I hate it, Mom."
And then there were no more words. Just tears.
"I hate this part of being a mother," I thought. And I held him and let him cry.
It didn't last long. As quickly as it came, Brandon's storm passed and he went back to his table football game with his brother.
I sighed, wishing I could fix his life. Wishing my children were exempt from pain. Knowing that healing looks messy sometimes.
Reminded that healing is much like life itself. A glorious, messy journey filled with pain, heartache, and hope.