Saturday night in Tampa...what a crazy day. Y esterday was kindof a booger of a day--it started extremely early with a trip to the airport to deliver Daniel and it never stopped. If you know me at all, you know that I n-e-v-e-r go to bed before midnight (trully never). Last night I was snoozing by 9:50 and I overslept a bit this morning. This place is an emotional vacuum.
When I am with Andy, I get this wierd sort of tunnel vision. Life outside comes to a grinding halt and I have to consult my phone to even remember the date and time. Days run together and nights aren't long enough. There are so many moments that I long to share but I can't take the time to write it all out tonight--I have to sleep to fly tomorrow without getting cranky so I'm only writing one story for tonight.
Andy had a downer of a day today. His doctors are monkeying with his pain meds and he's not getting good relief, so as one might expect, he was kindof a bear today. I tried everything I could think of that might be of service, but it just wasn't ment to be. By the end of the day--around 4 pm, I needed to pick up some grocery things for Daniel (I have a car) so I left to run my little errands and get some dinner. I came back around 5:30 pm to check on him and he was sitting up in the bed scowling at the dinner tray that had just been delivered. It was not a pretty sight--the tray or the face.
He looked so bummed. "How can I get stronger on food like this?" he asked me and I had to agree it was pretty pathetic. Mashed fake potatoes, faded green beans, unidentifyable soup, orange juice, and something called "Minced Beef".
Let me tell you.
Minced beef is 100 times worse than it sounds.
And it sounds horrible.
Think pre-chewed meatloaf...kinda shaped like rice kernals.
Formed in the shape of the scoop it was applied to the plate with.
Now that's some healing goodness right there.
I took one look at that and wanted to cry for him. And I looked at him and he looked at me...and I knew we had to do something.
So, Andy says "Do you suppose you could loan me $20?"
"Of course, what do you want to buy?"
"I wanna order a pizza."
And for the first time today, Andy seemed a little more like Andy...and a little happy.
And I could feel the breeze on the mountaintop!!
So, we rounded up the location of the nearest pizza joint and I told him that I had been considering making a pot of spaghetti and meat sauce to leave for Daniel...I asked if that sounded good to him.
He rolled his eyes...and said "Aww Sarah".
It was a declaration of love, I tell ya.
So we made a plan.
I had to hit a grocery for the supplies for spaghetti and I would pick up the pizza while I was out. Somehow, before I got out the door he requested Sprite and Blue Bell Cookie n Cream Ice Cream as well. I've have never been so over-joyed to go to the grocery in my life!
He said: "Man. I'm really hungry now. I haven't wanted to eat in ages."
You had better believe that I flew...like a rocket to the grocery and the pizza place. By this time I would have gone to the moon to fulfill any request he made. It felt so good to be useful and to know that he was finally interested in eating.
It took me a little over an hour to get it all together and he ate...willingly and hungrily. And it was a beautiful sight. He ate some pizza and some ice cream...ok...alot of ice cream. Deb..I told him about "personal pints" and he smiled that beautiful smile. That boy deserves "glorious gallons"...yes.
We talked for a bit after dinner...he was more like himself than I have seen to date--and it was a complete gift. I asked him if I could take his picture and he said OK. (He had said no to my earlier attempt.) I posted it to Facebook...I considered taking out an ad in the New York Times ...
After eating, and our conversation, he was pretty worn out, so I told him I needed to get moving on the spaghetti prep for tomorrow. I was planning to put his pizza in the refrigerator when he stopped me and said "Leave 2 slices here for a midnight snack." So I wrapped up a plate and left it within reach. OK...he really was hungry. :)
I went back to the Fisher House where I am bunking and prepared the spaghetti and meat sauce. The Fisher House is a housing facility for family members of patients at the VA units. It's like a small hotel, with a large communal kitchen, living room with tv and dining room. It's a wonderful place...and only a few steps from the rehab entrance...so it's wonderfully convenient. (More on that later.)
I began to prepare the pasta and the sauce and some other family members were eating and talking in the kitchen area. A lady come in and asked if anyone knew who offers takeout in this neighborhood. It's getting on kinda late and it occured to me that takeout would take a while and she shared that she had just arrived late last night and had no sleep for 36 hours and was starving...her son is 20 and was 173rd Airborne wounded in Afghanistan. "I'm making some pasta and sauce...I'm happy to share" I said.
So we ate together (I had a salad from earlier) and shared some stories. I'm so glad to have had the chance to be in that room at the right time making a simple dinner--ostensibly for Daniel and Andy--but also for her. She later said "I haven't had a home cooked meal in 3 months."
Two nights ago I was the new girl, wandering, feeling overwhelmed and useless--tonight, I feel like a million bucks...Andy's eating and I shared a meal with an amazing mom who has given up everything to care for her son. Oh how good our God is...when we are in the valley, he gives us a way up, if we can only see it.
I want to be that person more often. Less of me...more of others...more of Him.
A sweet story about a police officer tomorrow night...after I'm home...OK.