“The Kids are coming on Sunday at 2:30”
“You know the KIDS!”
“Oh you mean THE KIDS!”
My husband is a CASA (court appointed special advocate). For the last several years he saw the KIDs on a regular basis. I never knew who the KIDs were, their ages or anything about them. I just knew that when he went to see the KIDS, it was very important and also very special. The importance was he would gather information so he could “be their voices” in court cases concerning their guardianship. It was also a special time to have a visitor come to their home just for them. The visits usually ended with all the kids in the family gathering around to hear a “Charlie Story.”
He saw the KIDS for 7 years. Finally, their case was completed, and they became available for adoption. Their foster parents adopted them. And when the final papers were signed, Charlie was able to tell me about these KIDS.
Parkinson’s “plays on” no matter what you have planned. This was a special day and I genuinely wanted to do my part in it. I usually stay home and hide from events when my symptoms are exceptionally annoying. There was a decision I had to make about today. Because my balance was so bad I could easily trip over the toys Charlie brought in from the shelves in the garage. My language was a bit confused when I tried to talk. I had trouble getting out of the chair. And the sound level, that glorious sound of children playing, was interspersed with shrieks and cries that pierced my ears. I could foresee a major panic attack brewing. Yet, there would no hiding when the KIDS came. They would seek me out.
I made my decision. Just stay. Sit in the living room and enjoy watching these KIDS play.
And I did and it was a great time. As the afternoon wore on each child initiated an interaction with me. I didn’t have to go to them. Even the baby got involved by glancing over at me. Our eyes locked. He ducked under his mom’s arm and then sprang back up. “Peek a boo”. He initiated “peek a boo” with me! How cool is that!
Charlie had help cooking up hotdogs, hamburgers and corn on the cob. He made a condiment tray and bought double stuffed potatoes salad from the store deli.
Another choice to make… I had to shake off the fact that I hadn’t prepared the meal. I let my visitors serve me and clean up my home. It was hard to be OK with in my head and in my heart. We were breaking down the schema of “having dinner guests”. I was in a new role.
Our plans to enjoy our back yard and patio were ruined by a spring storm so we sat together around the big kitchen table, like thanksgiving. It was thanksgiving!
At the end of our time together, one of the younger boys came up to Charlie and said “ Are we ever going to see you again?” He put it all together that today was a going-away party: that Charlie’s official role in their lives was over.
Charlie’s response “well, if you want to we can be friends for rest of your life.”
It was so quiet after they left. But as I looked around the empty living room. I could see every little face looking back at me. None of them had judged because I couldn’t move very well. I don’t think they even noticed.
Another step in accepting myself.
Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash
Used by permission of the author.