Day One continued
At that moment, my cell phone rang. It was my other son’s wife, Janine. Sean and Janine live a blessed twenty minutes from the airport.. Hearing Janine’s voice, I pictured their children, Skye Olivia, twelve years old, Coco Harper, seven, and Cutter, four; I hadn’t seen them for almost six months. Mike hadn’t seen them for over three years.
Janine said, “I’m on my way to the airport, almost there, right now. Geoffrey called this afternoon and asked me to pick you guys up. I’ve got dinner ready. I hope you like it. The kids are really excited to see you.” I almost cried.
What appeared to be an impending disaster a few minutes earlier, was suddenly looking hopeful. With cheerful transportation and a good hot dinner waiting for us, Mike was ready for the next step.
The children raced to the door, welcoming us with hugs and glittery posters. Even though Mike had not seen Sean’s children for years, they greeted him enthusiastically. I’ve heard that young children and PD patients don’t mix, mostly because their needs are very similar.
Observing the children’s responses to Mike’s speech and mobility limitations, I was struck by their complete acceptance of his condition. Their small hands moving instinctively forward to catch him when he stumbles through a doorway. When he speaks, they lean in closer and watch his lips to better understand what he is saying. They are not impatient. They do not make judgments. If he stammers and can’t find the word he wants or spills a bit of dinner on his shirt it’s really okay. I think children are naturally compassionate.
By the time we finished a wonderful dinner of vegetarian lasagna, French bread and green salad, Geoffrey came through the door to claim us. We didn’t see Sean that night. After his regular work day, Sean teaches classes in International Business at the University of Phoenix campus in St. Paul.
As we left, Janine suggested, “Maybe you guys would like to come to Coco’s soccer game on Saturday morning. Sean’s coaching.” We would like to.
Geoffrey and Tanya live nine blocks from Sean’s, so the trip to their house was short and so sweet for Mike’s weary body. Tanya, an attorney with a Minneapolis firm, was just off the bus from downtown when we arrived.
Looking very near her due date, Tanya along with Rohan, their four-year old son, greeted us at the door and led us to our room.
Mike marched straight ahead to his bed, noting the bathroom along the way– three steps and two doorways from his side of the bed. Our first day ended with warmth and grace.
First new bedroom, second bathroom.