Over the past few months today has been a significant point of reference for me - a date in the near future to 'get to', to make the most of when, and if, we made it. It held dramatic connotations as landmark dates in the calendar do - as markers for progress or survival.
Our neighbours have a boy the same age as Tom. That isn't a rough approximation; the difference in age is one short night that Nicky had on the maternity ward before Linda was wheeled in to the opposite bed with baby Joe; future boy next door. One can probably imagine with little difficulty how significant our relative positions felt while Tom was ill; how painful the prospect of returning to our joined houses without him. Linda and Mark, and Joe in his busy toddler way, have been vital to our recovery in the way that empathetic friends can be.
In the dark days, when the extent of Tom's potential recovery was by no means certain, Mark talked about the boys playing together again.
'August', he announced. 'They'll be running round the garden together in time for their birthdays'.
It sounded optimistic and I was far from convinced given that, at the time, he could barely move one of his arms and couldn't yet support his head.
As it was, the gallivanting and frolicking in the garden got started in July. Although somewhat cautiously on Tom's part (he is still very uncomfortable on uneven ground and won't tackle inclines without dropping to his knees), Mark's prediction came true.
Yesterday was Tom's party. His 'wellness' is slowly losing its novelty and the level of his grandparents indulgence can almost be explained as normal. He needs a little in the way of extra attention, what with that pesky coil needing to be replaced with irritating frequency but there are a number of practised hands ready to help. Joe, obviously, doesn't go in for offering special consideration. For him Tom is that kid next door who gets all the cool stuff the day before he gets his share and he has to witness it with unreserved envy. That, for now, is fine; Tom can't possibly hang on to all the trains, diggers and Bob the Builder-oriented goodies at once and there's enough of a toy overspill to share.
An uplifting day. PCTs, second implants and therapies of one kind and another can all be put to one side for a day or two. I think we all deserve that break.