Have you ever experienced the sensation that although you know you’re present, in the moment, you feel as if you’re a spectator at the same time? This weekend has been filled with moments like this. It may sound odd but these moments felt surprisingly “normal”.
Every day we go through the motions of what needs to be done. The task list is pages long, the clock doesn’t always limit itself to 24 hours and the days roll one into the other. Every day is drastically different than the day before and yet it all seems to be routine. That is until the moment presents itself that surprises you; interrupts the daily ritual to catch your attention. With the snap of a finger you’re jolted into a higher level of awareness.
This is just how Corey got my attention tonight. I was sitting next to her as she slept; engaged in another task and unaware that she in fact had woken up. I heard a quiet little snap. I looked up and she was smiling, wide eyed and very proud of herself. I asked her if she was trying to get my attention and she nodded yes. She then proceeded to snap several times in a row. I laughed out loud and asked her if she just remembered how to snap her fingers. She laughed and said yes!
Throughout the weekend, we’ve had transient moments of what seemed “normal”. We were talking as she rested in bed. I found myself staring at her face. She was relaxed and engaged in the conversation. Her voice is getting stronger and some of her words are becoming clearer. As I studied her face all I could think of was her senior picture. The muscles in Corey’s face continue to soften and she is looking more like “herself” again.
At one point this weekend I sneezed. Corey replied, “Bless you”. Surprised, I laughed out loud and thanked her. She smiled and said; “You’re welcome”. JohnPaul called and asked to say hello to Corey. I handed her the phone and she responded to each of JohnPaul’s questions. Most were one word answers but she held the conversation.
This morning Corey called out for me; “Mom, I want to leave”. Taken aback, I asked; ‘where do you want to go’? She clearly said, “Mall”. ‘What do you want to get at the mall’? Confidently Corey stated, “Pants” and “Shoes”. Needless to say, we packed up and went to the mall. We were in Aire to get some yoga pants. The saleswoman showed us Smalls and Mediums in assorted colors. I asked Corey what she thought about the sizing and colors. The saleswoman didn’t expect me to engage Corey in the decision process. She said, “You not me”. I didn’t understand. I carry her white board with us and she wrote, ‘Medium you not me’. The saleswoman was stunned by this interaction. She explained to Corey that the style and the cut have changed and the old smalls are now mediums. Corey conceded to the adjusted size.
After we purchased the pants (size medium) I asked Corey what she’d like to do next. “Food Court”. What do you want? Corey said, “Ice Cream”. Off to the next stop!
We purchased the ice cream and found a table. Corey is learning to eat and swallow. Typically I manage the small quantities of ice cream on the spoon and feed it to Corey. As she manages the portion I remind her to tuck her chin to her chest until she swallows so she doesn’t choke. Corey was watching the crowd as she concentrated on dissolving and swallowing the ice cream. I was unaware but several bystanders were staring at Corey.
(The following is one of the most sobering moments I’ve witnessed to date) Corey made a motion signaling that she wanted to write. I asked her what she wanted, she wrote; “eat”. Confused by this request I reminded her she was eating. She wrote; “on my own”. Wow…Absolutely! I placed the proper portion size on the spoon, handed it to Corey and she fed herself. It was at that moment I became aware of our surroundings and put myself in Corey’s seat. She is a 19 year old woman that wants her independence; she IS NOT going to be fed or treated as someone that is not capable.
Dignity, Integrity and Respect; fundamental values everyone works towards earning. Corey I was reminded of the saying; the true test of integrity is not when times are good but how a person acts during times of adversity. You remain true to yourself with self respect as well as asking for the respect you’ve earned. Thank you for reminding me that you deserve better. Forgive me if I compromised those values and didn’t treat you as an individual with unlimited capabilities. I am very proud of you and truly enjoy learning more about the woman you’ve become. xoxo