I loved being there for Dear Son. It never really mattered to me, what he did. It didn’t matter if he slept all day or was up all night. As long as I was in the same room as him, I was happy.
When he’d spend the night at his Dad’s, we had our little ritual when he came home. I’d always tell him, as I tucked him in that night, that I was glad he was home. I’d tease him that I did enjoy getting to sleep the whole night, without getting up, but that I really missed him and that it wasn’t the same when he’s not there. They were not just words, it was true. I always felt that something was desperately missing when Dear Son wasn’t there.
It’s different when your children have special needs. Most people can easily understand that you can’t leave a baby alone, since they need your help, but I don’t think most people can really grasp what it’s like to have a special needs child. It’s especially challenging when they can’t talk, walk, feed themselves or go to the washroom. They are forever dependent on someone to figure out just what it is that they need, when they need it and how it should be done. A very tall order for most people.
But it’s the trust factor that’s really the key. They learn to rely on you for everything they need. So when I had to get ready for this surgery, it was the most difficult thing I ever faced in my life.
I can’t remember ever being so nervous about anything in my life. My back has always been a train wreck of sorts, so any little thing that stirs the pot, usually hurts a whole lot. On top of that, I’d have to relinquish control of all of Dear Son’s needs to someone else. Heck, I never let anyone else (other than his Dad) ever give any of his meds, other than the lunch time ones, since I simply did not want to make any mistakes. But it went beyond that, Dear Son trusted me, and wherever he went, I went. Except for this time.
I tried to explain to him, that I needed to go into the hospital to get my back fixed. I said my back didn’t work very well, like his legs didn’t work very well. It wasn’t because of him or anything he did, it’s just that I needed to get it fixed so I could continue taking care of him. I talked to him several times about it but I don’t think he ever really understood it until we dropped him off. It was hard too because I couldn’t make any promises to him as to when I’d see him, because, well, I just didn’t know. But the bigger issue was the fact that, for the first time, I really wasn’t in control of the situation. What if something went wrong and he couldn’t come back. What if, I could no longer take care of him? Who would? What would happen to my Dear Son?
In addition to that, there would be the loneliness. Not only would I be lonely but I would be worried about him. I would be worried he wouldn’t think I was coming back. The one thing I didn’t have to worry about were the people taking care of him. I trusted that they would take good care of him and they did.
I had my surgery on last Thursday and as we drove home Thursday evening, I called Dear Son at around 6 p.m. to see how he was doing. They had a few questions, which was normal, but there wasn’t much I could do. I came home Friday morning and was on my own ever since. By Friday night, I was missing him terribly and convinced his Dad to take me to the Respite House to see him, while he filled my prescriptions. I visited with him then and then I wouldn’t see him again until Sunday. Dear Son refused to kiss me and I knew it was because he thought I broke our “little agreement.” It wasn’t really a little agreement, trust is a big thing; when you look someone in the eye, it means something and I meant every word to my Dear Son.
I spent all day Sunday with Dear Son. I didn’t care what we did, I just wanted to hold his hand and tell him I loved him. He didn’t want to hold my hand as much, and kept pulling away. I knew what that meant and I felt bad. He thought I had broken our agreement. On Monday, I was so exhausted, I just crashed all day and then got up depressed because I missed him so much. I ended up calling him that evening and cried when I couldn’t be there. On Tuesday, I got to see him again and yesterday I drove there for the first time. I plan on seeing him again today. I am driving there now, although I am not supposed to. I can’t bear to leave him and can’t wait until he can come home.
Yesterday, I had a conversation with the Director of Nursing about Dear Son. I explained to her that he wouldn’t give me kisses the first few days. She said that a lot of the kids do different things when they are away from their parents. Some won’t look at them and then again some parents don’t visit them. I can’t imagine what it must be like for these kids to be away from home and wonder when their parents are coming. They must feel like they were abandoned.
I am thrilled that I had such a nice place for Dear Son to stay and I’ll be even happier when he’s home. When he comes home, I’ll reassure him again that I’ll never leave him, but I’ll also add something to it in case I have to go to the hospital again. I don’t ever want Dear Son not to trust me. After all, if you can’t trust your Momma, who can you trust?
Things are looking better now. I am feeling better and I am hopeful I will be able to care for him in a few days. I can’t wait for him to come home. I pray every night for a good recovery and am waiting for him to sleep in his own bed again. In the meantime, I’ll look him in the eye and tell him that he’ll be coming home soon. And I’ll mean it.