It’s been really good being back in Kentucky even though it snowed a lot at first at times making me regret leaving Florida. But, one thing I didn’t realize I missed so bad was real alternative rock music. West Palm Beach provides a respectable variety of music ranging from 80’s to Top 40 to Latino and even a country station I liked even more than the ones back here, but one thing I never seemed to find was hard rock music a la Ozzy Osbourne, Smashing Pumpkins, Metallica, The Offspring, Motley Crue, etc. I never thought that I would miss 103.1 WGBF, but I sure was finally enjoying their same-100-song-over-and-over-and-over again playlist. For a little while. But, now that it’s been a couple of weeks and I’ve listened to their limited playlist, I’m over it and back to 89.1 which plays the hard stuff and, hey 103.1 are you paying attention here?, plays new music regularly (but in 103.1’s defense, WGBF DJ’s are MUCH better in the personality and entertainment department.)
But, being back in Kentucky has had its tough moments too. For instance, during Drew’s re-orientation with his old abandoned toy collection, his first pick was a Fisher Price basketball goal that I have very fond memories and one of my all-time favorite videos capturing his enthusiastic play. I remember fondly, during filming this very video, that Drew was all over the room chasing the basketball, rolling around, hopping up to his feet to reach the goal in his typical exhaustive play time. In revisiting the same basketball goal, Drew was suddenly immobile, not able to chase the ball once he tossed it into the goal. He is quite literally like a permanent fixture in whatever spot we place him. And, when he tosses the ball he expectantly looks to Daddy and I to retrieve the ball for him which I’m embarrassed to say becomes quite the nuisance though I internalize those feelings as best as I can trying not to share my aggravation having to play this endless game of fetch. Sometimes I just wish he’d play with Legos more often or blocks or something so I didn’t have to do all of the legwork. But, as much as I can stand it, we oblige him not wanting to disappoint him.
In another instance, Drew and I went to the local park to take advantage of the high winds and attempt to fly a kite. This would have been an enjoyable experience if it weren’t for the fact that I spent the majority of the time trying to untangle the rat’s nest of string since it wasn’t stored properly. But, I saw in the distance that the playground and jungle gym was a popular spot for young kids who had ventured out during the few days of “spring” weather we’ve been lucky enough to experience. Kids ran freely from slide to swing and parents convened at the benches enjoying their momentary freedom and empty hands. Drew and I used to be regulars at this park and my camera’s memory card is full of pictures of Drew sliding down the curly slide, his hair full of static and a smile on his face. Drew would climb stairs to the slide and hop from one jungle gym to the next taking in all of the activities. And, now, I’m an outcast watching them from afar, envying that they are enjoying these typical toddler milestones and memories. I don’t know how Drew feels about it, he hasn’t said anything or given them a nostalgic look, but I know that I miss those experiences terribly. It makes me very sad that a year of Drew’s life has/will be spent separated from his peers and not enjoying the typical childhood experience. One fifth of Drew’s life has/will be spent in surgery, pain, therapy, x-rays, taking heavy narcotics….restricted. It’s just not right.
But, I keep telling myself things will get better. At least, I hope they do. At times I fear that my expectations are unreasonable. I know where Drew came from, hopping on his butt and reliant on a wheelchair for anything outside of indoor play and it seems unreasonable that he can go from that to walking, running, playing. It’s been such a long process and my confidence is getting lower and lower. While Drew’s surgeon is the best in the country and arguably the world, he’s incredibly elusive when asked about Drew’s future abilities. Though things are getting easier with Drew, the lack of progress is very discouraging. (Actually, not really lack of progress…just the loss of progress. Speaking of which…)
Drew finally started with physical therapy yesterday after nearly two months of healing after the femur fracture. All in all, Drew did well, but I was very discouraged seeing that Drew was barely able to bend his right leg, the leg in which the femur was broken…the leg in which previously was able to bend at greater than a 90 degree angle….which took SIX WEEKS of therapy to achieve. Not that it had anything to do with Drew failing, but to see how far we were before the femur fracture to what it is now, which is basically the same point in which we started, was just disappointing. To know that we’ll have to go through an additional six weeks of the same pain to get back to where we left off is just exhausting to think about. I mean, I’m annoyed if my avatar dies in the middle of a video game sending me back to the beginning of the level. We should have been at more than double the progress this week had we not lost the six weeks plus the following weeks of work that would have been done had his femur not fractured. It’s still just emotionally painful to think about starting over. It was encouraging to see all of that work and to see the benefits after such stressful surgeries and pain. We’re starting over, in a slightly more exhausted phase of this process pushing our goal further and further out.
But, don’t worry about me. I may be discouraged now, simply because I’m just dwelling on the problem for the purpose of this post, but now that I have vented and after some decompressing, I’ll bounce back. I know I will. I always do. And, regardless of how strong a person can be, we always have our weak moments. It makes us human. A friend asked me the other day, as I explained to her all of the goings-on with Drew, how I was able to handle it all without going crazy. At first, I didn’t have an answer other than, “You just gotta do what you gotta do.” It wasn’t long before this that a sad anniversary had arrived: what would have been my first son’s 10th birthday and shortly thereafter, 10 years with him as my angel. Every year I wonder why it had to happen, why he had to die. And, if you know my pregnancy history, you know that that wasn’t the only tragedy I’ve suffered – multiple miscarriages and basically the loss of a dream of having normal family due to a random chromosomal defect that I was unlucky enough to be granted (see my other blog, www.babyinthebalance.wordpress.com). Why did this have to happen to me? Why can’t women who don’t want children have this defect? Why do I, who desperately wants children, have to go through so much pain and trauma? It wasn’t until very recently that I was able to answer this question. And, I believe the answer is that it was necessary to give me the commitment, the desire, the overwhelming love, the appreciation of a child’s life to go to the lengths I have for Drew to provide for him what he needs for the best possible life. To uproot my family’s life, move across the country, to be strong for Drew while he goes through hell takes the incredible sacrifice, a sacrifice that maybe some may not want to make if they didn’t have to fight so hard to even have that child. Most mothers don’t know, and I hope they NEVER know, how difficult it is to lose a child and to suffer infertility or risky pregnancies so while, of course, they love their child with every ounce of their being, I have the knowledge of loss, tragedy, tears, emotions, desperation in trying to have kids. So, to me, it’s that much more of a miracle, something I don’t take lightly. I fought for Drew’s existence, went through my own hell, so he is the absolute center of my world. I’m very, indescribably, lucky to even have him. And, I will fight just as hard to make him happy. I will not take for granted any moment. I will not discard any opportunity to make him the happiest and most capable boy ever because it was hell to get him in the first place and I will fight to the death for him. And, I’m sure that all of my previous losses have “thickened my skin” and I think have been a preemptive measure to build my inner strength to handle all of the stress that comes with Drew’s current medical history. Besides, I think everyone has more strength in them than they think. People will do surprising things when needed. You can say all day long that you don’t think you can handle it, but like I said, “you just gotta do what you gotta do.” You can find strength. It’s in there. I promise.