Monday, October 22, 2012

Turkeys Down

A rather southern friend of mine (shout out Susan Johnson) introduced me to a colorful turn of phrase I like to repeat to myself whenever external sources have me feeling blue, "Don't let the turkeys get you down!" (you have to say it slowly and wisely with a slight southern accent -- see if it doesn't work for you, too) has been a mantra that makes me smile and remember not to take myself, or any other turkeys, too seriously. Everything will be okay.

Trouble is, this phrase hasn't been working as well for me lately. The turkeys are pretty big and serious looking (not at all funny) and their combined weight has been getting me down. I don't know that everything will be okay and I am having trouble coping with that.

I'm also starting to miss Tigger. Very soon he will be returning to Colorado for 5-6 months of final specialty training. He will be taught to recognize and respond to the physical signs of Simon's clinical seizures (on a related note we figured out that the reason he has not yet been able to alert to a seizure before it has happened is probably because Simon is having seizure activity all the time. Tigger probably thinks it is normal... the kid must always smell like seizure!), he will be learn how to protect Simon and keep him safe, and he will be trained to assist Simon with balance and mobility.

All of these things are very important and the intensive training is a necessary step, I know, but I am still dreading the separation. Over the past 6 months Tigger has become an intrinsic part of our family -- his exuberant but gentle presence makes our home a happier place. Additionally, we've seen improvements in Simon's language and empathy when he is with Tigger, and he and Simon have steadily become closer.  

Simon's "too big doggie" gives the best hugs.
We need Tigger's help now more than ever, and I am as sad and worried now as I have ever been. I have some big turkeys pulling on me. Fortunately, today I didn't need to look any further than Simon's backpack for a lift. 

A friend's son, who has also battled epilepsy and who has been through the testing and surgery we may be facing, sent Simon a sweet stuffed puppy to brighten his day. Simon told me it was a "not too big doggie" and it does have a striking resemblance to our "too big doggie." N2BD will be good to cuddle with in the months ahead, when I am sure Simon's bed will be feeling conspicuously empty.

Earlier this week I got a lovely card from a family friend with a gift intended to send Brian and I out on a date, since she also knows from experience how stressful a situation like ours can be on a relationship. Over the weekend my sisters-in-laws have called to see how we are, my parents have been helping us cope with our over-burdened schedule, and my friends have checked in and sent love.

The truth is that hands are all around me trying to lift me up, and as I realize this I am reminded of something I said at the "TiggerFest" party we threw earlier this summer to recognize all the kindness we had been shown as a part of our journey to bring Simon and Tigger together: 

"This year, we have gone from feeling frightened for our son's well-being, to being embraced and uplifted by our family, friends, community, even people we don't know -- together, we have experienced a true miracle, and I can't thank you enough for being a part of it. I will carry this in my heart always and I know that years from now, when Simon is encountering more challenges as we all inevitably do, I will have the story of what happened here to remind him of how loved he is, how great people can be, and how miracles really can happen."

The challenges have come sooner than I'd hoped, but the rest of what I said rings true. All I have to do when I am feeling afraid and overwhelmed is to remember that sunny day when my heart was bursting with gratitude for how much love we had been shown. All I have to do is look around to see how loved we still are.  Knowing this gives me hope to believe that if one such miracle could happen, more are possible.  

A very special friend from another very special friend -- thank you for this "not too big doggie" Ian Moore!

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