Last night, after the writer’s group meeting, I met with my son. We haven’t had a chance to talk, just the two of us, in about a month. We either have my grandsons, which I don’t mind, or my husband, which I don’t mind either, but my son and I have an extra bond that goes beyond mother and son, and I think it is because he was my primary care giver when I was paralyzed. He and I also have suffered through my daughter’s drug addiction, and that, too, made our bond grow stronger.
I have to say, my son is perfect in every way. He is kind and considerate and always tries to help people when they are in need.
He was only 13 when I was hit by the drunk driver. It was my son who stayed in the hospital with me almost every single night. He told me what my sisters were discussing; it was he who told me they had mentioned a nursing home placement, and it was because of him that I was able to go home. You see, he, at age 13, took the responsibility of taking care of me. NO, I mean really taking care of me.
We lived next to the school, so the teachers allowed him to come home every hour to turn me, to change me, to get me up and put me down. He rolled my wheel chair into the shower and sprayed with the shower hose and all the while I’m crying and he is saying, “Mom, I have my eyes closed.” How precious.
When he was 15, he took a part time job at the local grocery store, they loved him, and because he worried about me, he sent his friends to check on me, every hour. If I needed something, they helped. Really, helped me get into and out of bed, if I needed other more intimate care, they went to his job, took his place sacking, and he came home to tend to me.
When he was 17, he bought his first car. His friends and my son never went too far away from my house. If they did, they took me with. Yes, I have been to every single ball game, although I read, they took me to a wrestling match in Little Rock, I sat in the parking lot and read. While they took me to things that interested their young taste, they included me. I can remember one Saturday morning my son hurrying me through my morning care and packing a bag which included an extra set of clothes and all my medicine. I said, “Where are we going.” He said, “My friends and I are going fishing on the White River and we’re taking you.” So, in a convoy of four trucks and one car loaded down with my wheel chair, my other basic care things, we headed up the mountain to the big river. We spent four days in a cabin. It was the happiest time of my life. A bunch of teenage boys, who would never have been able to convince their parents to give them permission to go so far away from home without an adult, and a paralyzed woman who would have never been able to get up to the mountain and so close to the river. They carried me and my wheel chair right up to the river’s edge and put my feet in the water and though I couldn’t feel it, I saw it and it was so great.
I think, in those eight or so years, when I was unable to move my feet or stand or even hold my urine, my son and his friends kept me sane. And when I began to get some feeling back and began to take a few steps, it was my son who loaded my wheel chair and me up, every single day, and took me to the walking trail. He unloaded the wheel chair and I used my walker and he pushed the wheel chair behind me and I walked four steps—from the car to the gate. That went on for almost a year until I was able to walk further and further. He never said, “Wait, I don’t have time.”
So, you see why he is so precious to me. But last night we met, and I said, “Let’s go get coffee.” He said, “Let’s just sit and talk.” So, we sat and talked for three hours. It was like old times when he and I would sit and talk and talk about everything from sports, which I knew nothing about, to writing and books and science and theology and on and on.
We promised not to let a month go by without our having one of our talks and he said, “Mom how do you feel about a road trip back to the White River?” So maybe, this spring son and grandsons, and even Mr. Zelda will rent a cabin next to the river and spend a weekend just being in the big woods. Wouldn’t that be really cool.