Upstairs, in bed, in the wee hours of this morning, my son was transformed. Under some sort of cosmic magic, the earth went ’round the sun one more time. And by the same magic, my son turned 5. The day he was born I said to my husband, “I now know why son and sun are homonyms.”

My relationship with my son-shine is rather cosmic, too. I waited and waited for a little seed to plant itself inside me and finally, after I wrote him a letter coaxing him to this world, he came. All through my pregnancy I dreamt of angels bringing him to me, placing him in a crib for me, touching his head. I knew I was being told to appreciate this gift.

I am trying to teach all my children that we are each gifts to this Universe – that no matter what our circumstances, genetic makeup, skills and interests, we are here to be a part of the circle of giving and receiving. We each have needs and we each have things to offer others. I have been saying these words to them for a long time now, but only in recent times have we, as a family, made solid commitments to do our part.

We have turned birthday celebrations into celebrations of others. While honouring ourselves, we are honouring the rest of our community. Each child chooses a charity, and instead of receiving gifts from family and friends, we ask instead that the gifts be extended to that charity. Last year, my son chose the Surrey Food Bank; he collected $200 plus canned donations. We shopped and then dropped off the food and received a tour of the facility at the same time!

This year, we gave our son some options: the SPCA, the food bank again, or Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. He immediately chose Canuck Place – and can I be honest and say, I am sure his little 4 year old mind did it because of the word Canuck! He wouldn’t know that Canuck Place is a pediatric palliative care facility. But when I explained it to him, and what that meant, his eyes grew wide, his face rather solemn. “Canuck Place!!” he yelled, then charged about the room, like a superhero.

His birthday is the perfect time to grant his wish of being a superhero and supporting other children in their medical care. We have appealed to friends and family for help, but I thought I would put it out here as well, in case you are looking for a way to be a part of the circle, or feel like performing a random act of kindness! (Tax receipts are available). Click HERE to see where your money will go.

Here are some facts about Canuck Place (from their fundraising literature):

  • Canuck Place, BC’s recognized pediatric palliative care provider, brings clinical care and hope to children and families on a difficult journey when there is no cure.
  • The focus is to celebrate each moment and build precious memories together, regardless of the child’s situation or the time they have left.  
  • Canuck Place is only reaching 20-25% of the children with life-threatening illnesses who need this specialized care in British Columbia.
  • The unique and talented team of physicians, nurses, recreation and music therapists, counsellors, staff and volunteers provide 24/7 respite and family support, province-wide phone consultation and in-house clinical care, pain and symptom management, grief and loss counseling, including music and play therapy, art, education and recreation therapy, and end-of-life care.  
  • With caring, professional staff and over 325 volunteers, it is a place for children and families to come in their greatest time of need.

We hope to make a trip down to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice over Spring break and, if it works out, receive a tour of the facility.

If you would like to help my son be a superhero on his birthday, feel free to join in the celebration HERE.  Thank you!