The photographer at the Washington Post had been hoping to capture this moment on camera, but I resisted slightly, afraid that after four weeks apart our little reunion might not to go as smoothly as I hoped. Fresh in my mind were memories of Jack’s first post-injury reunion with TC and the horrendous drive down to the country on the day of TC’s hospital discharge – events that certainly didn’t live up to my magical daydreams. But reuniting with Jack was every bit as magical as I hoped it would be.
On Sunday, the eve of TC’s final week of therapy, Jack and I flew up to Halifax together. We were both so excited to see each other that we spent 5 blissful minutes just hugging cheek-to-cheek. He was an awesome travel companion. There were no tears, no diaper explosions, and I even got to finish a book while he slept in my lap. I can see why his grandparents enjoyed him so much while we were away. He has grown into such a fun, easygoing kid (that is, when he’s not overdue for a nap).
It’s hard to believe that on Friday the program will be over. Tomorrow TC will participate in another round of evaluations so we can see how much his speech has grown over the past month. I’m not sure what to expect from that data, but I can definitely attest to the dramatic improvement I have witnessed in his communication with me.
TC and I used to have major and frequent misunderstandings in our conversations with each other. These miscommunucations were so frustrating and so exhausting that it was nearly impossible to have any kind of normal, every day conversation. So we stuck to the essential information. Did you remember to take your pills? I’ll be back from class at 10pm. Did it go OK with Jack?
The program has given TC a much better idea of what it is that he needs to work on in his speech. His language has become more specific, detailed, and clear. He literally used to ask me questions like, “You know that one?” and expect me to understand what he was referring to. Now he’ll ask, “You know that movie that came out a few years ago starring the guy from Lincoln?” I may not always know the answer, but at least I can figure out the general direction of the conversation.
Beyond the improvements in speech, probably the best thing we’ve taken away from this experience is the opportunity to just be husband and wife again. Shifting between the roles of wife and caregiver isn’t easy. I feel overwhelmingly responsible for TC most of the time. But getting to work with such skilled and knowledgeable therapists has allowed me the luxury of just being a wife. Once a week I enjoyed a Partner Day Off, days that I happily spent writing. With Jack here for the final week, I can leave TC in the hands of his trusted therapists and spend some quality time enjoying Halifax with a person who has not received my undivided attention in a long, long time.
Life feels quite different than it did five weeks ago. We both feel so much lighter and more joyful than we did in previous months. There are still more transitions ahead, and certainly lots more hard work. I anticipate plenty of future moments of doom and gloom, but overall, I think our trajectory has shifted in a significantly more positive direction.
We’re sad that Round 1 of our Canadian adventure is coming to an end, but we’re thrilled to spend the next few weeks traveling with Jack and reacquainting ourselves to life as a family of three.