Sometimes I truly believe that my wife and I are raising and caring for a completely different child.
Sammy woke up with his incredible smile today, ate some nan and chicken mackhani for breakfast (you read that correctly, I mean if he lived in India he would always have Indian Food for breakfast)
and Miss T came to teach him some of his lessons for the day. They educated each other while playing some apps on Miss T's ipad and when she left Sammy and I went out to the common area to do his written homework. No fuss, no muss, no tears, no threats, no cajoling, no anything. "Let's go and do your homework." "Ok." I swear we are raising Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Sammy did an incredible job of journaling about Squids, doing his math and practicing his hand writing.
A little after midday Sammy had a playdate with one of his floor friends who has been discharged and now lives across the street at the Ronald McDonald House with his family. While we parents talked about resting, surviving, parenting and the world series, the boys had an incredible time playing the Xbox together. They played Lego Harry Potter for part of the time and then Sammy taught his friend about using the force in Force Unleashed. I think they both loved the opening sequence when they got to be Darth Vader for a few minutes, but then again who hasn't wanted to be Darth Vader at certain moments in time. What an incredible slice of normal surrounded by all our HOT unit friends and family who constantly stopped by to check if we needed anything or just to say hi.
After the play date, Sam had a FaceTime call scheduled with one of his friends from home. They enjoyed each other's company while discussing the finer points of Dragonvale and breeding certain kinds of dragons. Sam has learned the fine art of being on the iPhone with FaceTime while showing his Dragonvale Park on the iPad to the person he is speaking to. It is multitasking and multimedia at its finest. The two boys enjoyed sharing their knowledge of dragons and making plans for when Sammy gets home.
After FaceTime Sammy opened some of his packages. He was very excited to receive a kindle considering he is just learning how to read. The real excitement was that our friends knew this about him and had loaded it up with audio books for Sam to listen to. He loved that and loved figuring out how the kindle worked. As I type, he is tucked cozily into bed, listening to Brandon Frasier read a book about, what else, dragons.
Just after dinner we went for a walk downstairs to return some dvds. Needing to be dressed appropriately, Sammy donned his new Spiderman hat and glasses for our jaunt downstairs. Little did we know there was a family program going on this evening. Sammy was very excited to watch Mister Pickles entertain a group of families, but was less than pleased as more people began to arrive and, fretting about exposure, I told him we had to leave. We left with two more movies to watch, but Sam was convinced he would never again have the chance to be entertained by Mister Pickles. I assured him that if I had to hire Mister Pickles for his birthday I would, as long as he left with me quietly. He was barely molified, but accompanied me back upstairs. Better safe, than sorry.
Once upstairs Sammy got ready for his bath. Deciding to have his evening meds before the bath Sammy opened the remainder of his packages. To his joy he received a great magic kit and two marvelous games.
Meds done, aqua guard in place, Sam climbed into a nice warm bath and luxuriated with his toys for a bit. Once finished, he got out, got dressed for bed and requested some more of mom's homemade mac and cheese to satisfy his new found hunger. He watched some Johnny Test and ate his food while I tutored Hebrew via FaceTime. In the middle of my conversation he requested more food so I let him talk to Jasper, one of his many fans, while I prepped more mac and cheese. Jasper and I finished going over his Torah portion, Sammy and I finished watching cartoons, and day twenty came to a quiet close with us singing the Shema together, and a dragon tale being whispered into Sam's dreaming brain.
The problem with listening to an audio book as you fall asleep is that you can never remember where you were in the book when you drifted off. We will see if Sammy cares, or if the important part is just having other people to read to him when Phyllis and I cannot. Of course he might ask for different parents, at some point saying, "Brandon Frasier never tires or reading to me. He can read to me for hours! Why can't you and mommy read to me that long?" "We paid Brandon and others to read all those books to you. We don't get paid by the hour to tend to your every need and read for hours. Parental slaves have other chores sometimes too." May that conversation never come.
It always amazes me which parts of the day go slow and which parts fly by, ending before they even seem to begin. From homework, to meals, to friends, to walks, to evening and preparing for bed. The time flows in such odd bits and pieces until the sun finally sets and I realize it is once more time to pull out my bed, and prepare each of us for the end of a day once again. When here, I only focus on the minutes in front of me. I rarely think beyond the closest hour, the next cup of water for Sammy, when he might be hungry and when it will be time to walk around down stairs for a few minutes at the end of the day. Sammy in his best moments makes the time flow smoothly as he attacks each moment with his typical verve. Only Sammy at his best has made the passing of all this time possible with any strength or nerves left intact.
At times these days, my emotions catch in my throat as I allow myself for a moment to ponder his homecoming in the days ahead of us. November is no longer a month so far away that I can't see it. At this point June and the Summer are distant nightmares I've awoken from and can barely remember as my brain clears away the cobwebs of a deep sleep. Soon my whole family will all live under the same roof once more. Our schedules will adapt to whatever is our new normal. Tears of joy will flow fresh from all the eyes of those who joined us in praying for this single moment.
And all our prayers will ring with the hope that home is where we will stay for a long long time.
One of my constant prayers is that there comes a time when the room I now occupy, and every room on this floor will remain forever empty. And if not empty, may there be a time when every room is full of the hope we've been allowed. I wish our challenge on no family. I am only thankful to be part of such a large global community that has held us constantly in their strong arms and seen us through these most terrifying months.
You have my infinite gratitude. May I always pay forward your love, prayers and blessings.