My wife and I have five children.  Yes, I realize her body is not a clown car.  We just really like kids.  Back off!

The youngest of the five is Payson.  He’s nine.  He’s got fashion sense.  He’s a hit with the ladies.  And he says charming things just to stay out of trouble.

Four days before his seventh birthday, Payson got diagnosed with leukemia.  This post isn’t really about that.  He’s doing great.  Got about eight more months of treatments.  His outlook is very, very good.

But what this post is about is the Wish he made through Make-A-Wish – a Disney cruise to the Caribbean.  I’ll spare you most of the details, but here are just three thoughts about what our experience was and what we continue to learn through this journey:

1. There aren’t words to accurately express how we feel about Make-A-Wish Utah. Make-A-Wish is simply heaven sent. Even for a kid who is doing great and has such a promising diagnosis, this trip was overflowing with hope and meaning and every feeling imaginable. We can’t ever say thank you enough for their charity and generosity, but we are gonna do our damnedest to pay it forward.

2. The thing that matters most, the only thing that really matters at all, is your people. Your tribe. The constants. The answers to your questions. The faith to your doubts. The light in the darkness. This trip made me want to love the heck out of my tribe, to send back more than I get, to never take any of them for granted for a second, and to give myself most to the people who are closest and most true.

3. This video here is one of my favorite moments in a trip fuller than a tick with favorite moments. It was pirate night, and Disney kept hyping the show and fireworks up on top of the ship at 10:45pm. We made our way up there, with pretty much everybody else, and the place was packed. The pirate show started, and just before the fireworks were going to launch, a freaking downpour hit. Deluge. People scattered for shelter, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria, and our family got split up, all of us looking to get out of the monsoon. I found a spot, turned to look back outside, and there were maybe 10 people left out there. Among them, this little nine year old cancer kid, jamming to the pirate music and watching the fireworks in the downpour, totally loving every second. Glorious. We all rushed back out with a few other brave souls and partied in the rain. I’ll never forget the five Inkley kids, dancing in the rain, watching the fireworks, just living the moment. Payson has been through it, but they’ve all been through it together. What a great freaking moment, a tiny moment that captures what we’ve tried to do the past couple years. Dancing in the rain, watching the fireworks.

Up yours, Leukemia. Let’s kick this pig.

Shmarmy Personal Post: Chapter 2