1 Fall from a Swingset
8 Hospital Visits
3 Days in the Hospital
2 Knee Scooters
Finally: Cast Off Day.
I wasn't prepared for how emotional this moment would be for me. He stood on two feet, and I cried.
Perhaps it was the buildup of twelve weeks of worry.
Perhaps it was the awareness that in other parts of the world, a boy with an injury like this wouldn't walk again.
And I think it was definitely because until that very moment, I hadn't believed all of this could really come to an end.
He felt the ground underneath his feet, he learned to walk again, and I cried.
My mom called last night. She said, "I need to come over. I'll bring ice cream."
"Mom, you can just come over. You don't need to bring ice cream."
"No, I want to. This is a very important milestone. I need to see him walk, and we need to celebrate."
I will never say no to this.
Tuck walked across the room, showing off his fancy footwork. (Tyler flipped himself around on the living room ottoman, because he can do interesting things too.) She let us all process the events of the day, because telling the story matters.
And then she said, "I have words for each one of you. I want you to know what I've seen in you this summer."
She started with me, and her eyes filled with tears.
"Trish, you have gotten up again and again when you had nothing left. In the hospital, in the doctor's office, in the middle of the night, when you thought you had nothing left to give, when you were more exhausted than you had ever been, you got up again. You have shown me - and yourself - that there is no limit to your strength. You are a woman beyond measure."
"Tyler, I am the youngest in my family, and I know that the youngest isn't often called upon to be selfless. It's easy to be selfish and all about yourself when you're the baby of the family. But you have chosen to become selfless this summer as you learned that your family needed you. Really, truly needed you, your help, and your smile. And that has been wonderful and important."
"Tuck, you have been the picture of endurance. You have taken such good care of your foot, and you never, ever complained. At the beginning of the summer, the doctors told your mom that if you didn't follow the rules, all of their work would be undone. But you listened. You were so careful not to put your foot on the ground, that the bottom of your cast even stayed clean! You have been so careful and so diligent, and I just know you'll grow up to help kids who have an injury, because now you know what it's like."
Tyler basked, Tucker beamed, and I let it all wash over me. You're never too young or too old to be blessed by a blessing.
And because our family loves ice cream, cake, celebrations, and reasons to combine all three - and because my mom was right - we finished the day with This.