Nik’s twinkly blue-grey eyes looked knowingly across the gate; clearly, he knew something I didn’t. As if I were watching a slow motion film, I was rooted to the spot; Nik crouched down, swung his arms forward and catapulted himself into the kitchen in one superhuman standing broad jump worthy of any Olympian. It wasn’t until he darted past me into the living room —and toward the unlocked front door— that it actually registered. My coffee cup shattered as it hit the floor, splattering hot liquid on my bare feet; feet which were in motion faster than I have ever moved in my entire life.
As my husband’s alarm clock went off, I sat bolt upright in bed, disoriented. Nik’s early morning happy serenade softly filtered through the monitor on my night table. With a trembling hand and a shaky breath, I reached to turn on the light; the aftermath of my dream dissipated but left me shaken.
I know that some things simply are not possible —Nik vaulting over the gate for one —but it seems that the paradigm I have held for so long is suddenly tilted on end. After living in a state of high alert —extreme watchfulness and high anxiety over Nik’s fragile health and unknown diagnoses —relaxing my guard does not come easily. Yet the evidence mounts before me on a seemingly constant basis.
I have to remind myself that —while they are generally very, very good — my instincts can be off-base when I let my emotions cloud my thinking. Sometimes I cannot see the forest for the particular tree under which I stand.
I have had an odd sense —fueled in part by a seeming consensus among many of the bloggers I read on a regular basis —that things are not exactly “on track.” That is to say, things aren’t bad; but things aren’t exactly good, either. Chalk it up to the change of routine inherent in summer days or the effects of the humidity and heat; I’ve just felt like there must be something more I should be doing with Nik, for Nik.
But then, I also read about Joey and Andy’s wonderful lunch at the King’s Arms and I think of how well Nik did on the Fourth of July; he was a happy, well-regulated little camper in a crowd of strangers at a BBQ to meet my sister’s future in-laws. He was fully present and engaged in the excitement of our town’s local parade; he even made friends with one of our gubernatorial candidates. Had he been able to stay awake long enough, I think Nik would have even enjoyed the fireworks; he loves lights and loud, crashing noises.
Just over a year ago, I watched through the classroom window as Nik sat in circle time at school—sandwiched between two experienced para’s —ignored and left to his own little disconnected world. I thought my heart would shatter in a million shards of piercing grief.
When I step to one side of the tree —when I change my perspective just a little bit —I can see how far we’ve both come in this past year together at home. It’s been a long, bumpy road full of unexpected twists and turns but we have found our way. We might be moving a bit slower than I’d like on some days but they are balanced by the days I cannot even catch my breath —let alone my thoughts.
In rare quiet moments, such as tonight when Nik is asleep and Niksdad is at work, I can savor all the little moments which add up.