the hardest year

Time is a funny thing. In some ways it feels like we've lived a lifetime since last summer, but on the flip side, it seems like it could not possibly have been a year ago that Rico was finishing radiation treatments and preparing for surgery. I remember asking him if he'd like me to record his first steps after surgery because someday he might want to see how far he'd come. He agreed, but also said that he couldn't imagine ever wanting to relive any part of this. I believed he was right, but also harbored hope that I'd get to record many more steps. Two weeks ago was the anniversary of his last radiation treatment, and I revisited some of our video. I shared this compilation with Rico last week, and while tears sprang to our eyes, we said the exact same thing: 

This was the hardest year of our lives, but look at ALL OF THAT LOVE. 
So. Much. Love. 

When it felt like our hearts were empty, the world kept filling them up. The doctor who hugged us and said, "Not on my watch"; the neighbors who cared for our kids; the friends from near and far who sent food and love and flip flop necklaces; the teachers who loved our kids through the hardest moments; Dr. SIMM and the entire staff at Mayo; the crew at the radiation clinic; everybody at the Northfield Retirement Center; our friends at Bethel; the cast of a Grease who was always up to celebrate the little successes with us; strangers who were willing to trade battle stories, and fill us with hope. It was a year full of love, and that's why we're choosing to share it with you. Thank you. For us, this year was about survival, but also about really understanding what it means to live and to love. Thank you all for being a part of our journey. Love, Rico, J, Punk, Kooka and Tiny