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Monday, December 16, 2013

Your Son I Am.


Today I had a thought.

I was driving you to work, and upon glancing in my rearview mirror I noticed that Frank was about to fall asleep.  I made some comment about how happy that made me, and I said that I probably sounded like a horrible parent.  You looked at me and said, “No, you sound like a parent.  A normal one.”

I thought then, how insignificant these types of conversations used to seem to me.  I wondered how many times I have dismissed a similar transgression with you, with my husband or my son.  I thought how nothing you say is insignificant to me anymore.  I thought about the first two months after you woke up, some of the first things you said to us.

For instance, I remember getting a text from Dad while I was at work, about a week after you woke up.   Someone had asked you your name, if you knew who Mom was.  You responded, “Your son I am.”  Like Yoda.  We were thrilled. 

Some days after that, during speech therapy you were asked to name animals, as many as you could. This is one of my favorite stories regarding your recovery, actually.  You began to name off some common farm animals.  I believe you said cow, horse. 

Then you jumped to dinosaurs.  It was as if the five year old Patrick was in the room, the one who carried his dinosaurs with him on every trip in the back of our station wagon, threw them down slides in the backyard and interrupted our Barbie games with brontosaurus chasings. 

One by one you named the different species.  I am told the nurse was smiling.

It was amazing, and probably close to the cutest thing I have ever heard.  You were coming back to us, slowly but surely.  In your own way. 

I can remember driving home from a hair appointment mid-May, getting a call from mom after another speech therapy session.  The doctor was prompting you to answer some basic questions, and you had responded with “Why are you making me say all this shit?”

It was the most familiar, “Patrick-esque” statement I had heard in weeks.   With the sun beating through my windows then, I lost it on highway 40 during rush hour.    

During your rehabilitation stay, I was able to witness the brain during its early stages of healing.  For me, this was incredibly interesting.  Also terrifying.  Sometimes you would speak so coherently.  There were also times where you’d be mid-sentence and then repeat the commercial that had just come on TV.  Sometimes it would seem that what you were saying was a different language, but upon second thought, actually made sense.    Once, you had been watching the Cardinal game with Dad, cursing at the television, repeatedly referring to the “God Damn Serdaps.”  It took Dad awhile, but he finally realized what you meant.  “Serdap” is Padres spelled backwards.  We were playing the Padres. 

Your recovery has been an amazing thing to witness.  A terrifyingly painful, inspiring progression.

There were times where I knew, one hundered percent, that you would be fine.  There were times where I would cry myself to sleep, driving home wondering if you’d ever be the same.   Now, eight months later, just looking at you is enough to make me feel like I could change the world.  I wonder if you’ll ever realize how strong you are, how much of an inspiration you are to all who know your story.  I have always considered you to be the best-case scenario.  Nothing about that has changed. 

“Have a good day.”  My motherly proclamation as you exit my car.  I watch you walk through the doors.  I notice you deliberately not using your cane.    

And I just want you to know that on days like today, seemingly normal, slowly-dragging work days, bitterly cold run-of-the mill days, days where you feel like you are on auto-pilot, days where you feel frustrated, defeated, days where you might be forgetful, days where you can’t seem to figure out how you got to where you are…

I want you to know that you’re amazing. 

I want you to know that I love you. 

And I want you to know that you’re alive. 

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