10.82 million stem cells collected. He did it. The goal was 8 million. So after another grueling day of hanging around the hospital, we finally arrived home late evening, after a stop off at DQ of course. I always imagined when I saw Louie in pain it could be from a heartbreak or a disappointment. Kids get sick all the time. They moan or throw up and you feel terrible and maybe, secretly, you revel a bit in their need for you and optimistically enjoy the snuggles and intimacy knowing when they feel better they'll be off and running. The physical pain we view is devastating. As long as no one says "you okay mom", I can hold his hand stoically and embolden him. And then rehash the moments for hours, days after. I recall being paralyzed as a new mother, how could I shield him from discomfort, essentially from life? And now I see him living; thriving sometimes and agonizing others, but living. And experiencing. And learning who he is and who we all are.