The next day, I was to remember all over again how quickly children heal. When I had sat beside Cameron’s bed the night before after we laboriously got him in bed, I had wondered if he was home too soon from his open heart surgery; after all it had only been a couple of weeks. But when he got himself out of bed the next day, I knew we would be all right. His mother, Lisa, was still at home-had not returned to work yet (although she did work from home a lot) , and did I forget to say or perhaps said at the beginning of Cameron’s hospitalization that I had brought enough clothes to stay indefinitely to help with Cameron and the twins, plus my car? Cameron’s dad, Mike, had returned to work that day. Later that day when Lisa went to pick up Cameron’s twin sisters, Phoebe and Nica (10 at the time) from school, Cameron and I were in the family room, watching funny movies and laughing together. One of my grandson’s best attributes is his hearty laugh and beautiful grin. He only wanted to watch movies that day that were light and made us feel good. Around 3 pm, Cameron said he was hungry for ice cream (he was always hungry even before his surgery, a growing teen age boy of 16 and a dancer; he metabolized food quickly). I said I would go and get some from the Creamery down the road a few miles. He looked at me and grinned: “Can I go?” With those melting brown eyes, how could I refuse. Of course. <>As we were walking outside to the car, Cameron in his pajamas; his father was getting out of his car in the driveway. “Where are you guys going?” Mike inquired. Cameron, a huge smile on his face, told him. I told Cameron he would have to sit in the back seat though as he couldn’t put the shoulder strap across his chest and it would be safer; also didn’t want him getting hit with an airbag in the event that it would deploy. Happily chauffeuring my grandson & backing out of the driveway, Cameron asked if we could roll the windows down. It was August in Texas, probably 100 degrees, but of course. He wanted to feel the air blowing on his face. I glanced at him several times in the rear view mirror; I could tell he was relishing every minute of life. I shook my head in amazement; just 10 days or so before; he had had his chest split open, his heart cut on and some of it replaced, and he was not in any pain. He wasn’t even taking plain Tylenol for pain (he was taking one aspirin a day but that was for his heart….one). <>Cameron stayed in the car while I went in and got our ice cream cones since he was in his pj’s. Savoring the cones together, I also savored the moment with my grandson. His ordeal had put much of life in perspective. After we returned home, my son, Jason, arrived from Dallas; he had been at the hospital for the surgery and had stayed until Cameron was out of danger, but wanted to come and see his nephew and spend some time with him now that he was recovering. Cameron stood up to hug him. My tall boys. Cameron is 6’1” and Jason, 6’3,” both with black hair and brown eyes and a great sense of humor; Jason was just 17 when Cameron was born. They sat on the couch and laughed and joked; I sat across from them and beamed. <>The next few days were just trying to help Cameron in his recovery. He had to have IV antibiotics at home which his mother (she is not a nurse, either, but I don’t think there is much my daughter cannot do or adapt to) handled beautifully. Lisa returned to work the following week, and it was just Cameron and I and the dogs and cat at the house. The days were lazy with Cameron sleeping in, and my preparing his breakfast and lunch. Many days, he asked if we could get fast food. Cameron, being a dancer, had always eaten healthy so when he asked for “fast food,” it wasn’t junk food, but something from a drive through. I got in trouble with the parents for taking him to get it or just getting it for him. They felt like it should be a treat, not a daily thing, and there was plenty of food in the house, but I could not have told that boy no after what he had been through (as long as it was legal). <>One afternoon, I was sitting in the family room when I heard a lot of noise overhead, coming from the parents bedroom (they were at work) so I went up to investigate. It was Cameron, dancing. He told me he just wanted to see if he still could (he could). Another day, I checked on him in his room, and he had pictures strewn all over his room; he was making a collage of his life. I related; my way to “collage” my life is to write about it, but Cameron is an artist and more visual. It was such a sweet way to document his memories, and to see his life unfold.<> My poor granddaughter, Veronica (Nica) gave up her room to me for almost 3 mos. At times, I did pick them up from school or take them to their piano lessons, so was able to have a little one on one time with them. Cameron soon began to have a visiting teacher come to help him catch up in school. He would sit with her at the table for a couple of hours and later I would sit with him while he did his homework, sometimes answering questions or helping him find the answers. All too soon, it was time for Cameron to go back to school for which he was eager. My grandson is a very social person, and while he had had lots of visitors in the hospital and a few at home, it was not the same; he wanted to enter the mainstream of teen social life: High School. So he started going ½ days; I would take him and pick him up as the hours were different each day, so that he could make each class at least once in a few days to try to stay caught up. I am making this sound effortless….the reintegration at school, but it was a hard fought battle for my daughter to get the home teacher, to get his assignments, to keep Cameron caught up. She had meetings with the teachers and counselors; one of the counselors didn’t think he was eligible for the home visits. What? He had open heart surgery for heaven’s sake! <>Many times on the way home, he would ask if we could get a sandwich even though it was only a couple of hours until dinner. Of course. I began to feel like a teen-ager myself when my daughter would reproach me for giving in to him. One time when Nica was 3 she asked me for something, and I said, “of course!” She looked at me with wide blue eyes and said, “Mimi, you never say no.” Of course not, I am the grandmother. I really thought I had educated my daughter to this, stating that I could “get away” with giving in because I was the grandmother; different set of rules for us, but living within the family for 2 months was a different story; I had to be more of a parent which I didn’t like at all with my grandchildren. <>After about 3 weeks of part-time school, Cameron went back to school full time, knowing that his grandmother was but a phone call away if he needed to come home. What I mainly remember about that time is being in the car, going back and forth to Cameron's school which was about 10 miles away as he went to the Arts Magnet High School. When he had finished the first week of full time school, I knew it was time to pack up and go home. The only live things I had waiting for me were plants, and my sister had taken care of those for me, but you know what they say about fish and company after 3 days, and I had been at my daughter’s for 2 and ½ months. It was amazing that my son in law was still speaking to me. At first, I knew I had been needed to help with all the children, but now that Cameron and family were back in their routine, it was time to go. I drove home to Dallas knowing that I would return the next month to see Cameron in his first dance performance. Dance was part of his curriculum and he was taking it slow, but would have one dance in the next show. At the first performance that he lifted a girl for a split second, I’m sure the whole theater heard my gasp. For a year or so, I was painfully aware of his surgery, and he has had a few scares, having to go to the ER a few times, and hospitalized overnight once as a precaution. <>Overall, he is healthy and happy and dancing. Last year he was accepted to Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pa. after auditioning for their dance program. While there, the Alvin Ailey school asked him to audition for them and he did. Was accepted, and is now attending Alvin Ailey Dance School in New York City, living on his own in an apartment in Brooklyn. This grandma could not be prouder of the young man he has become; what he has achieved, and what he overcame, and how gracefully he did it, with only a scar on his chest to show what he's been through.