Nov 012013
 

Our neighborhood typically has a solid turnout for Halloween.   This year it was over the top!

One neighbor reported 383 kids.  That is a huge number for an area considered lower income in the South end of Tacoma.

We had a neighbor convert one of his empty homes into a massive walk through haunted house.  The house was complete with flaming skulls, animated creatures and scary things that jumped at us from all angles.  It was impressive and everyone loved it.

Several neighbors provided warm cider and hot chocolate for parents as they escorted children door to door.

I would estimate that at least 2/3 of the homes we visited had someone dressed in costume as they answered the door to hand out candy, all of them hamming it up and having fun.

The most impressive thing?  I never heard a cry or a child be rude.  I heard nothing but “thank you” and “please” and laughs to last a lifetime.  This is what Halloween should be like and I am glad I live in a neighborhood willing to make it fun.

I spent a few weeks working on a costume for Alexander so he could dress as his favorite character from Minecraft.  I was working up to the last minute but finally finished in time for Alex to roam the streets as Steve!  The costume was a hit, with parents and children screaming “STEEEEVE!” when we walked past.   Alex was over the moon and I was a proud father.

Minecraft Costume

 Posted by at 1:42 pm
Oct 302013
 

Niko is slowing down each day.

The tumor has grown to a point that I am afraid it will open up. That is a huge concern right now. He is eating but the cancer is eating him faster.

When I pet him I can feel the bones in his skull, his neck feels thin and I can feel his spine. His breathing is still normal and I don’t hear anything unusual there.

The tumor has almost closed his right eye.  I expect it to be closed by the end of the week.  I have been keeping it clean and wiping gunk out of his eye.   The tumor feels like it is growing out, not in which is actually better.  Had it started to grow inwards he would be unable to eat.

Things have been quiet this week. I am putting the finishing touches on Alexanders Minecraft costume tonight. We are planning a group Trick or Treat in our neighborhood, complete with a full blown haunted house provided by a neighbor. This is going to be a spectacular Halloween for the kids.

Niko and tumor

 Posted by at 12:50 pm
Oct 272013
 

I am in bed, Niko at my side breathing slowly.

Niko has been slow today and is sleeping more.  The tumor on his face continues to grow.  My heart continues to break.

If his decline continues at this pace I expect that he will be leaving us this week.

I am trying to be strong and love him as hard as I can.  Just when I think I am past the hard part, I look at him and cry.  Like the true friend and unwavering companion he is, he licks my tears and comforts me even as his life is winding down.

 Posted by at 9:54 pm
Oct 252013
 

My dog Niko has cancer and is going to die.

Fourteen years of love and companionship will be gone soon and I am overwhelmed with sadness.

Niko has helped me through many difficult times in my life.  The death of my grandmother, my divorce, and heartbreak.   Through it all he has been my rock and my friend, giving me unconditional love in a way that only a dog can.

He has been there for me through happy times.  We have walked through my neighborhood enough that he knows when we are nearing home and gets excited if we have been gone all day.

Every time I am out with Niko he always draws attention.  People always ask “Is he a dingo?” or they tell me “He looks like the Mad Max dog!”.   Children love to pet him and he always allows this even though it is not his style.

He has protected my home and child time and time again, even chasing a bad guy down the alley.   His entire life he has been nothing but an unconditional friend and he will soon be gone.

I am absolutely heartbroken.

This is what cancer looks like.

This is what cancer looks like.

 Posted by at 10:02 pm
Oct 232013
 

Today my son is seven years old.

Seven. Years.  Gone in what feels like seconds.

I can still remember his smell as a baby.  It is one of those things only a parent can relate to.  His touch, the subtle sounds he made and the warmth of his skin when he slept.   All of those things come flooding back when I stop to think about it.

That moment in time that I thought would last forever is.. gone.  The memories will always remain.

Today my son is in first grade.  He is learning to speak Spanish and his teacher tells me he is one of the best in his class.  He is never shy (unlike his father), but will clam up the minute we ask him to speak Spanish.  His confidence will come with age.

The boy is growing tall and his legs are long.  He is in constant motion, even while sleeping.

His mind is curious and ever expanding with a thirst for knowledge that I envy.  He is excited to learn and full of questions, sometimes so many, you feel like you are drowning in them.

He is stubborn, like his father.  We fight about things that make no sense to me.

This year we built our own small garden together.  Tomatoes and strawberries were the primary plants with lots of flowers thrown in to the mix.  The tomatoes were never ending and we created sauce and salsa with them.   Cultivated by the hands of this child who enjoyed watering them as much as I enjoyed watching him do it.

We share of love of the outdoors. This summer we spent time at the ocean, baseball games, camping, swimming, walking and hiking together.

We love to play Minecraft and Terraria on the Xbox.  It makes us work as a team and pushes us to be creative together.  Some people don’t understand it and that is fine with me.  We laugh and bond.

I can still carry Alex.  He weighs almost 50 pounds awake but feels double that when he sleeps.  I’m not sure science will ever figure out why that happens.

My son still loves to cuddle and hug and kiss me.  He is not afraid to show his affection in front of his friends, or anyone for that matter.

I am terrified that he is growing up, but excited at the same time.  I cannot wait to watch him grow and am curious about what he will become.

He has saved my life more than I can ever explain.  He has taught me unconditional love and how to be a better man, and father, than I thought possible.

I take all of these moments in.  Every single one.  Snapshot them in my mind.  Making and keeping new memories.

Love you kiddo, you are everything I have ever wanted in a son and more.

 Posted by at 4:00 am