Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dear Son Bed and Breakfast~The Meaning of Rituals


I have this little ritual on Sunday*, when Dear Son is at his father’s. On that day, it’s a day where I can sleep in and totally relax. I don’t have to go to bed after giving the last meds, which is at midnight; I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night to roll him over, or change the occasional diaper, or get up when he fusses and needs me. I don’t have to be up early to get the meds in (they are every six hours) or the food going (so he doesn’t get meds on an empty stomach) so I get up feeling refreshed. I usually try to enjoy the day and then do minimal housekeeping then get out with friends, do a project around the house that I’ve been wanting to do, or something like that.


Prior to doing that though, I take the time to change Dear Son’s bed linens. I normally do this a minimum of once a week anyway, but I try to make sure that everything is perfect when he gets home. That means fresh sheets on the bed, blanket and coverlet washed, bedroom dusted, supplies refilled (toileting and meds) and anything that makes it easier or nicer for him when he gets home. I scrub the bathtub because I know Dad will give him a bath when he gets home. I make sure the bathroom floors have been steam cleaned with my new steam mop. His bed, will be turned down, with the bed pads in place and fresh sheets on the bed. I do this for him, so he’ll know he is loved and well cared for, kind of like Dear Son’s Bed and Breakfast. When he comes home, I tell him how happy I am that he is home and I always mention that he has fresh sheets and have him smell them. I don’t have any clue if he can really smell them, and as a matter of fact, I use a fragrance free green laundry detergent so it probably doesn’t matter a whole lot but it makes me feel good. Dear Son sometimes gives me a big smile or at the very least, opens his eyes wide to acknowledge that he does hear me.

While I have always kept a clean house, I started this ritual a while back. Prior to that, I used to change his sheets on Monday and somehow this seems to make more sense since I have more time. But the bonus of this ritual is that I’ve come to enjoy it. Doing something for someone is nice if not nicer than doing it for yourself. While I do enjoy pampering Dear Son, such as rubbing his feet and legs with virgin coconut oil to stimulate circulation and reduce edema, I have come to view these tasks as a way to be thankful for what I have. Of course you know by now, that Dear Son is the most important thing in the world to me and how much I love and treasure that boy. But what I do is also for me. It’s a way to savor my days and time with him. Most Mom’s get to make meals for their kids. That’s something I really loved doing. Instead, I open a can or two of formula. It never feels right, it’s never felt right and it took me a very long time to get over that or at least accept it (tube feedings). I tried making liquid meals for him but it kept getting stuck in the feeding tube so I gave up. But my point is that these little rituals help me savor all of my time with him. It’s the same feeling you get when you sit down and eat a meal with a beautiful tablescape and a home cooked meal. It enhances the enjoyment of the meal. It also represents a shift in my thinking from “have to” to “love to”. I would hope it also sends a message to him that he’s important and that he’s loved. In the end, I suspect I am going to miss my little ritual after he’s gone. While it’s easy to wish we didn’t have to do all of these chores in the first place, it’s quite another to be thankful for the opportunity to make someone’s life a little nicer, a little more comfortable and to feel loved. I think at the end of the day, we all like that.
*Dear Son spends every other weekend at his father's.

4 comments:

Lindy said...

I appreciate so much you taking the time to visit my blog. I've been reading over yours and are certainly living a stressful life. I enjoyed viewing your beautiful tablescapes -- some elegant, some smart, some cute -- and can see you enjoyed creating them as well. I'm glad to have entertained you if only for a moment. You and your dear son will be in my prayers.
L.

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Hello, Dream Mom! This was a great post. And you know what? Yes, I DO enjoy cooking meals for my son, while you have to give formula to Dear Son... BUT I would like you to remember this: when my son was a baby, I also had to give him formula (I did not breast feed) and I opened the cans of formula when he was six months old with the same love that I open, let's say, a can of corn for him now. So please don't think you are missing out not being able to make a big meal for Dear Son. It doesn't matter WHAT food you offer and give your child - as long as you do give ANY food with love, which I know that both you and I do - that's all that matters, that we are preparing the sustenance with love. So don't worry, by your taking care of using the coconut oil on your son to make him comfortable and changing his sheets so often, that is more than a LOT of people do for their children. I don't think I even have to tell you that. And one thing: I don't know if Dear Son can be exposed to 'scents' but he might like "Febreeze" sprayed on his bedding. It is a lovely smell and it makes ME happy to smell it! If allowable for Dear Son, you might want to try it for him, I think he'd love it!
Best regards,
Gloria

Cris said...

What an amazing blog. I am so impressed with Dear Son's resiliency and your own stalwart nature. I have cystic fibrosis and found your blog doing a search for "rebreather mask". I hope to keep up reading it!

Dream Mom said...

Thanks, everyone. Cris-I am glad you like the blog.

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