Last week was a different kind of work week for me. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that, six weeks ago, son, Jack was struck by a car while riding his bike to college. The time had come for his ACL replacement surgery, so I flew to Columbus, Ohio, to care-take. In preparation for the trip, I imagined hours of idle convalescing and thus packed myself homework: FlagandBanner.com income statements to compare and contrast, thank you notes to write, and the following week’s Up In Your Business guest’s bio to research. Boy was I wrong. The whole of Wednesday was spent toggling between rooms like pre-op, waiting, and recovery.
Admittedly, it was nice to be needed in a motherly way again. My rational side knows that “The” Ohio State has a state-of-the-art sports medicine facility, but while speaking to Jack’s young, capable doctor in pre-op, I unexpectedly welled up with tears. I wasn’t worried, just emotional.
Afterwards, when we returned to Jack’s apartment, I bedded down the patient and texted his grandmother, Ann McCoy, to let her know all went well. For eight years Ann McCoy was the Mansion administrator for Governor Bill Clinton and later the social secretary for President Clinton. True to her hospitable southern roots, she suggested a Saturday brunch for Jack’s newly found friends that have helped him since moving to Ohio and having his accident. He loved the idea! Psychologically, it gave Jack something to look forward to. (That Ann’s a smart cookie!) We hatched a plan for Saturday brunch, before the Ohio vs Wisconsin football game.
The next day, I googled a Walmart location (after all, I am an Arkansan) and took off. I spent that evening cooking, freezing food and rearranging Jack’s tiny kitchen cabinets. That’s when I realized my son didn’t have enough dishes to even host a party! In addition to reorganizing his supplies, the furniture needed to be adapted for a person on crutches, so I moved the sofa, chair and coffee table, which, of course, led to rehanging the pictures. And before I could even begin party-planning, there were housekeeping tasks like linens and a laundromat trip that needed tending.
Friday morning, with the party looming in the back of my mind, we went to Jack’s first physical therapy session. They don’t mess around, when it comes to rehab, ‘get moving’ is their mantra. To suddenly have a “special needs” life style, can be a bit daunting, especially if you live alone in a new city. I think Jack was a bit overwhelmed.
The brunch was now less than 24 hours away. The rearranging of the furniture to accommodate Jack’s crutches had ignited my decorating gene and was proving to be a great motivator for an evening trip to Linen and Things, Pier One and Whole Foods.
By Saturday we were ready to receive our guests. It was a push, but the results were worth it. Jack’s apartment looked welcoming and homey, and I got to meet his friends. The social interaction boosted Jack’s spirits. So much so, that after an afternoon nap, we hobbled off to see a movie.
My flight home was Sunday. At daybreak I scurried about the apartment, trying to make Jack’s next week as manageable as possible. When it was time to leave, I was again filled with emotion.
At the door, I kissed his unshaven face, smelled his familiar scent and hurriedly walked off, lest I cry. As I loaded my bag into Uber, I glanced back to see a 6 foot tall man, dependent upon crutches, standing in the doorway of his tiny apartment. It seared into my memory. Just like five days before, I’m not worried, just emotional. He’ll be fine.