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.