Max Mikulak 2008 (c) copyright Deb Schwedhelm
Max playing a game while getting platelets in 2008. Love that spirit!
6/30/14 - this would have been Max's 13th birthday and to celebrate we're going on a family hike and will eat crab - Max's fav - for dinner. 

Max's urn accompanied us on his 13th birthday hike.
As usual, we allow ourselves to be smitten and torn up at the same time, remembering good times while imagining what Max would be like as a teen. We see his friends, and wonder who he would be taller than, or hanging out with more often. Would he be playing a musical instrument? Still playing with Legos? As the only one of our three kids to have ever picked up a baseball bat and glove for an organized league, would he have played more small-ball? 

This birthday as in years past, we organized a weekend party with some of Max's friends, first stopping at Rady Children's Hospital to drop off some gift bags at the HemOnc unit, then to In-N-Out and then Dave & Busters. It's good to see these boys - some of whom we see throughout the year and some only once a year at this gathering. Its funny... some of the boys are now taller than Hannah (age diff ~2 years). I wonder if Max would have been taller than his older sister by now? Questions...

We hope this gathering of Max's friends continues for many years as it keeps us connected to that age and those happy times that Max had with every one of them.

Matt, Jayden, Nic, Dylan, Jack, Hannah, Chris - their "album cover" photo in remembrance of Max.
We've received so many blessings inspired by Max this month. From Touch A Truck on June 7th to our church's KidsGames this past week, where Max's Ring of Fire was the compassion project and over 500 kids heard Melissa tell the story of Max and all the good that has been done because of him and for kids fighting cancer. And in the course of those activities which raise money and awareness for childhood cancer, we've received many amazing notes from kids, parents, and even one of the actors in The Fault in our Stars who wrote to let us know that our blog helped him understand what it was like to be a parent to a child with cancer. 

Live Life to the Max.