"Here she is..."
Her name is Caroline. She is 18 months of age. She has brown hair with blonde highlights and brown eyes. She's a tiny bit of a thing, but she is, according to my son, "the cutest little kid ever." While I may disagree with that superlative statement, only because I think my kids were cuter, I would agree that last Thursday evening when we arrived at her house in San Francisco for dinner, she was quite a sight for sore, tired, and tear-filled eyes.
There she was, the little girl we'd prayed for, cried for, and prayed for some more during the previous twelve months as she battled a vicious cancer that was doing all it could to end her life. She fought. Her parents fought with her. Even her four year old brother fought on her behalf. Across the country, we shared her story with friends of ours who joined us in seeking healing on her behalf. So when we heard the good news that all was well, that her tests are continuing to come back with no sign of cancerous cells, we knew we had to get out to San Fran and meet little Caroline.
Although Steve and I have known her father since before we were married, and we spent time with Zach and Natalie while they were dating, and we saw them when Ben, their son, was just a couple of months of age, we'd never met Caroline. Before heading out west last week, we had seen only three or four photos of her. Oblivious to who we were or how much we felt that we've known her forever, Caroline greeted us cautiously from the safety of her mother's arms and allowed herself to be put down only after she was coaxed into playing with my daughter. Watching her run down their center hallway into the playroom was no less spine-tingling and soul-stirring for us than if she had been the winner of a beauty pageant whose name was being announced: "Here she is, Miss America, Caroline Abrams." Who am I kidding? It was much more exciting than that. Off they went, out into the backyard to play with sidewalk chalk, back inside to eat dinner, upstairs to play in her room, and back into the kitchen for cookies and ice cream. She's a perfectly normal, energetic, funny, milk-loving toddler who happens to have survived cancer.
On Saturday night, Steve and I went out to dinner with Zach and Natalie. I asked all kinds of questions about what the last year has been like for them as a family. They asked what it has been like for us to follow the events from so far away. I said this: "It was an honor for us to be able to pray for her regularly. It was a joy for us to be able to tell our children that she was better. And it was a thrill for us to finally meet the little girl that had been so much a part of our lives for an entire year."