It happened a few days ago. On Sunday at church as we corralled our boys into a side pew near the big wooden doors (always, always by the doors for a quick exit or easy Joel entertainment), a fabulous older woman I admire but don’t know very well said, “I’ve been watching you. Even when you think no one is watching.” Suddenly my mind raced trying to recall if I’d done something embarrassing or a boy had tripped/injured someone/something that morning. All are highly likely. Quickly she continued with, “And you never sigh or look sad.” She was addressing all four of us, beaming and choosing her words carefully. “You’re happy. Really happy. He’s such a blessing. Well, both of them are.” Then she smiled and went on her way.
It’s pretty ridiculous how much I needed someone else to remind me that I’m happy. [And of course I immediately thought: “Pffft. I sigh frequently. Heavily. Maybe I’m just good at faking happy. Many people don’t know I have a theatre background, after all. Which reminded me once again of those fantastic old SNL sketches with Jon Lovitz loudly proclaiming, “I was merely…ACTING!”] I seriously did need that reminder though because we are living in the sweet spot of the summer I longed for last spring during Luke’s recovery, but I’d almost forgotten just how delicious it is. It has always been my favorite time of year. Long days of sunshine, pool time, catching fireflies, melting ice cream, and laughter. Days that smell like sunscreen and s’mores. And my children are thriving.
In June we went camping in the Smoky Mountains at a beautiful accessible campsite, and John was able to visit his first love, the Appalachian Trail!
We were delighted to have all of Luke’s post-op activity restrictions lifted at the beginning of June. Joel’s hips are also hanging in there, and we were told we didn’t have to bring either one of them back to the orthopedic surgeon until next spring. (!!!)
Joel was able to resume aquatherapy this summer through the Perlman Center in addition to his regular class program. He came much closer to loving it this year. We’ll go with “tolerated surprisingly well”, and he was actually quite happy most of the time. (Depending on how much work was asked of him during a given activity anyway!)
Joel also had an amazing opportunity to participate in hippotherapy this summer at no charge to us! Normally this therapy (which isn’t covered by insurance) runs $65-$75 a session. This is all thanks to our good friend Karen, an OT, who hooked us up with an awesome instructor who knew a therapist willing to volunteer her time on Saturday mornings. And I simply cannot shut up about the barn owner who refused to charge us stable fees when she heard about Joel! Karen also recruited a terrific teenager from our church who cheerfully led the horse each week. What a gift each person’s time was to Joel! (Someday I’ll probably write an entire post about how it’s rather phenomenal who we “bump into” and how many of our church friends work in the hospital/health field and have given us endless support and ideas…) Seeing little man happily sit up so big and tall on the horse was absolutely breathtaking. And adorable!
These extra therapies have noticeably strengthened Joel’s core, and he is pushing himself up to sit regularly throughout the day. I don’t have a great picture yet, however, because whenever I grab my phone or camera he throws himself to the ground. He’s not ready for his closeup I guess. But occasionally I catch him…
And a few more happy summer pics just because:
“I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’” -Kurt Vonnegut
Notice, my dears. Even if you have the long list of worries or frustrations that you could easily allow to take over your life. Even when it’s hard, painful even, to let the light in. Just look for the happy because you will find it, I promise.
Enjoy your happy.