Over the last few weeks I have an opportunity to spend a considerable amount of one on one time with my son, Ryan. An injury a little over a month ago required several trips to Portland together, which afforded us one on one time that I don’t typically have.
When you are outnumbered by your children, it becomes increasingly difficult to find time where you have just one of them with you, their undivided attention ~ or even better, they have yours.
I certainly don’t think that severe injury is the way to acquire this much needed time; however, I will say, it has been a nice reminder of how precious the time is I have my children.
I have always loved road trips with the kids. Most recently, in these road trips with my son, I am reminded that he is a funny, intelligent, caring young man, who if given a chance, can open up and talk about anything with his eager and willing mom. We have had a chance to talk about everything recently from school, life after high school, current events, sports and the role they play in his life, relationships and of course the reason for the time - his injury.
Few of us could really understand what Ryan has been through. For some, it may seem small, and infuriatingly, some people have all but said that. Even in my world, it took me days to really put myself in his position to try to understand his feelings. It was not for lack of awareness or lack of caring, it was truly that I just hadn’t taken them time to put myself in his shoes. An over-active, sports fanatic, who relies heavily on his ability to physically function at full capacity, losing a piece of himself - is life changing. Not to mention, the day to day things we all do and take for granted (writing, eating, bathing) that are now a constant reminder of his injury and how it has changed him forever. In the words of his doctor - he is permanently impaired - and although it may be the best case scenario, that IS forever, and it is a hard thing to accept.
I don’t often see a weakness in my son. He has strong opinions, he has goals, he is driven, and he doesn’t like others to see the soft side. He often uses humor to deflect what he is really feeling.
Yesterday on our way home from a follow up visit with the doctor, Ryan shared with me that this injury is something he thinks about every night before he goes to bed. He plays it over and over again in his mind.
When he first told me this, I was unsure in what way this haunted him. What did he mean exactly? He then added, “I just can’t help but think about how bad this could have been… it gives me anxiety. I think about it over and over and over…” I was silent.
He then followed up with, “everything (at his visit with the doctor) went exactly like I wanted.”
Meaning, his recovery could not be better at this point.
This was one of those moments we have as parents where we could not possibly love our children more than we do - in that moment. Seeing pain, feeling sorry, and yet, seeing strength and feeling proud. So many emotions.
I have less than two years left with Ryan in my house (before he takes on the world), and I hope that we will share a lot more one on one time. He has become an amazing young man, who I could not be more proud of, and I truly enjoy spending time with him. Of course, I am hoping for other reasons for this time, and when I am blessed with it - I will most definitely take advantage of every single minute.