My Birthday Wish for Idan!

IMG_0292Idan, today you turn 5 years old – a milestone in any child’s life, but even more significant for you. When you were born, your mother and I named you Idan, which in Hebrew means Era, or a distinct and noteworthy period of time. It is first mentioned in the Old Testament’s Book of Daniel as marking the end of a generation and period in time. In your naming ceremony, I explained that we saw the birth of our first child as a new distinct era in our lives. Until you arrived, our lives had been marked by a series of journeys. I literally journeyed across the world from Israel to New York to meet your mother. During that era, I had a perilous journey with a brain tumor, with a miraculous, against-all-odds survival and recovery. We connected your first name, Idan, to your middle name, Jordan. I explained that at the end of the Israelites’ 40 years journey in the desert, and before they entered Israel to start a new “era” in their homeland, they had to cross over the Jordan River. In the literature, water and the emergence from water represent rebirth. For us, this literally meant birth, as we welcomed you, Idan, into our family, and the three of us began our new journey together.
Little did we know that we would be setting out on the most challenging journey of our lives, one more perilous than brainstem surgery or anything we could have ever imagined. The journey was long, and like your ancestors, 40 years desert journey, filled with ups and downs, dangers and triumphs, losing hope and finding it again. Throughout this journey, the one thing that helped your parents continue on was your perseverance.

FullSizeRender 5Throughout the many long hospitals stays, the multiple surgeries, the thousands of needle pokes, the hundreds of medication doses, the days of chemotherapy, it was your perseverance that carried us through. Your smile, your joy, and your endless curiosity helped your parents get through the tough days. At the young age of 4, you already explained to your mother how all the pain of the transplant would all be worth it in the end, as you would finally be able to make friends the following year and play with other kids. You were so focused on this goal, that you could withstand the terrible side-effects of the chemotherapy on your little body and knew that it would just be one period in your life, an era in and of itself.

Today you turn five Idan, and my wish for you is to never lose that perseverance, curiosity and positive outlook. Yesterday, we marked the one-year anniversary of your transplant. And today, just like you predicted last year, you are spending this morning playing with friends in Lego/Robotics camp – no chemo, no IV’s, no needles, no doctors, no pain – just good old-fashioned fun. Let this be the beginning of a new era in your life – where your existence is not defined by the trauma you have had to overcome, but by the experiences you will collect that expose you to the joy and wonder of this incredible world. You have journeyed long and far to get to this point. May your perseverance, curiosity and positive outlook continue to guide you, but this time through great adventures, meaningful friendships, and fun – so much fun. And may these traits keep you steady on this new path, even as your new immune system is tested and faces the inevitable set-backs and challenges that are down the road. Today might be the end of one era, but it is the beginning of a new one as we return “home” to the life we had planned for you when we named you Idan.

We love you Idan, and wish you only positive and enlightening journeys from this day on.

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