The backpack

Five years ago I had this backpack. It was blue and white and black and petite, and you could cram a lot of different things into its pockets and pouches. When my youngest son, Isaac, was in the NICU that backpack held my life's contents. For eight weeks it held quick snacks, breast pump parts, countless bottles of Advil, books, pens, notepads, doctors' orders, notes and photographs (to go in the incubator), and more.

Then, months later, the backpack was back in action. It came to the ICU with us when Isaac was very sick. It held contraband meals. It held anxiety medication. It held tiny warm socks. It held chocolate that I couldn't taste.

And then… then the backpack came with us to Cincinnati – a constant companion as we traveled the 1200 miles over and over again to meet new doctors and create Plans Of Action and have surgeries and recoveries. Through it all, so many days and weeks and months and years of uncertainty, that backpack never frayed, never got lost, never even got a little hole.

Well, yesterday, my husband pulled the backpack out of the garage. We looked it over. Still in great shape. We washed it, tested out the straps. And though its petite size is still pretty huge when hung on tiny shoulders, Isaac is taking that backpack to Kindergarten with him in two weeks. It won't be packed with medical supplies or medications or doctors' instructions. But it might have a stash of some contraband chocolate. And it might have a little love note. (He can't quite read yet, but that's cool. The backpack can hold on to it until he can.)