Can I be really honest with you? I haven't wanted to update about our weekend because Friday we listened and watched and soaked our minds with the sadness of the shooting and the very next day was the beginning of a very perfect weekend. In fact, that's the only word that comes to my mind.
I don't really know how to continue other than to dive right in and bring a little cheer by sharing with you our blessings.
On Friday afternoon I sat with Cale and we typed on his iPad a packing list...for a night at the Fisher House! We were given a night pass! That meant that on Saturday I marched myself over to the hospital and after packing Cale's bag we waltzed right out of the hospital! It was extra special because it wasn't just for a few hours like the Saturday before...this time it was until the next day!
Our first stop was to the McDonald's on the base right by the hospital. We met our friends Jeffery and Julie for lunch before walking to the metro stop and hitching a ride!
I actually decided that Cale is just too nice to ride on the metro! He is so sweet and let's everyone go first which meant he almost didn't make it! I grabbed the door to hold it from closing while trying to get Cale on. At that point he was confused and slightly panicked. Julie had come over to help with holding the door open and we finally got Cale on before the metro took off without him! It's always an adventure with us! ;o)
We traveled right into D.C. in hopes to see all we could see with the help of the on and off bus tour. We had gotten a later start than planned so we didn't have a ton of time, but we made it to the Capitol and the Washington Monument. Eventually we'll make it to the White House and at least a few other monuments. It wasn't as much walking since we used the bus from place to place but it was still a lot for Cale. With all the noise, walking, and people everywhere along with it getting chilly outside pretty quickly, Cale did awesome.
We ended at the metro station for dinner before heading back. There's a really nice place where Cale ordered a steak and I ordered shrimp fajitas...yum!
I couldn't have asked for Saturday and our time together to go any better. It was, like I said, perfect. It felt not like I was constantly taking care of Cale rather I was spending the day with my husband. My man. Of course he needed help with things and it wasn't much different from our normal day as far as tasks, but there was something very different about it. We've had these kinds of days before and each time I consider it a true gift.
Half mast for CT.
We saw the Capitol building. It was fun having the tree up and decorated...so festive!
We also saw the Washington Monument. It was fun to smile and now claim we've seen it :o)
Do you see my face?! Something caught my eye...!
This is on top of the double bus in the freezing cold!!! We were crazy to sit up there. Our first ride would have been ok but by this time in the day it was way too cold! Cale said we were Mr. & Mrs. Ice. Haha! Still smiling though!
Loved all the Christmas trees!
My shrimp fajitas! Yahoo!
This would be us feeling really cool riding the metro in a big city...this would also be us after 9pm and ready for bed!
This was our favorite picture from the weekend. It captured a moment that was husband and wife. No brain injury, no caregiver, no hospital, no nurses, no pain from it all...just me& him.
By the time we arrived back at the metro station, said good bye to our friends, and walked to the Fisher House, Cale was exhausted! We were only able to see a couple things but it was still a full day for him. We stayed awake for about an hour more before both of us crashed.
As I closed my eyes Saturday night I couldn't help the smile glued to my face. It had been a perfect day and it didn't stop there. I was falling asleep wrapped in the arms of my man. My man!
It was a beautiful thing to wake up and see his face and to snuggle up even closer. I've missed it way too much! We had both slept in and he didn't wake up until after 10! Once he was awake neither of us hurried to get on with the day. We just cuddled and talked and laughed.
Finally about 11:30 we climbed out of bed to start the process of getting ready for the day. When we were both dressed and showered, we went downstairs and made a very tasty breakfast at lunch time.
On Wednesday we had gone to the grocery store with the OT and RT to pick out everything we needed for the french toast breakfast Cale had picked out.
We pulled up the recipe and turned on Christmas music and made ourselves a perfectly made meal. It was the best time! Even during the time we made breakfast, Cale didn't just do what I asked and wait for more directions, he actually looked for ways to help. It was us working as a team. We both sang along to the music and laughed at silly little things...it was...perfect.
There's no way for me to describe the moment like it happened. It was honestly one of the best moments with him.
Before coming here, he wouldn't have been able to help like he did. It was always us asking him very specific things to do and normally he lost interest and concentration quickly. So, helping to make the whole breakfast was in itself a huge deal. What made it even better was that he ate the french toast! This does not normally happen! He ate it!
He sometimes will eat french toast at a restaurant but not typically. And as far as at home, we've tried things like this and he just won't eat it. It was so special to enjoy the whole process of the breakfast together. Everything about it was so lovely.
The rest of the day we hung out in my room. Even that normally would have been miserable for him and I would have needed to entertain him but instead he was so happy and we had such a great time just hanging out. Just being us.
Even when we went back to the hospital we still were together for dinner and then watched a movie after. By the time I had to leave, I was a mess! I couldn't control my tears. I didn't want to end such a perfect weekend. I knew I was going to see him in the morning but the idea of going back to the Fisher House alone was terrible. It was also almost a way of reality coming back. Our life is not this perfectly sweet colored in the lines life like the weekend had been. Somehow allowing it to end was giving up a dream. Cale just held me while I cried and then said good bye.
On my way back to the Fisher House I called Mama and blubbered about how wonderful everything had been and how lonely my room is and how it felt like he had just been home for R&R and now it was over and he was gone again. Of course...that was the emotional girl inside of me...
It was just as sweet to show up Monday morning to my man. He was all smiles yesterday and the staff commented on how it must have been a real great weekend for him.
Today was a little more like normal. But even with the frustrations he has we all see changes taking place. It all adds to the flame of hope...thinking of how many more perfect minutes, days, weekends, months, and years there are to come!
I'll take any of them!
A few more randoms...
On Thursday Cale went solo on the Caren. So far there has been a staff suited up and right there to help but it was all him this time! He did great! He usually holds on to something to help but slowly we're trying to challenge him and take that option away.
He also worked with his buddy T to put together a jet fighter thing. Normally Cale will not do these things. He isn't able to read and follow directions and he fatigues quickly but he finished the whole thing! T helped each step but still Cale had to find the right piece and even helped put the stickers on!
I think Thursday was just a full day because Mr. Darling also got a haircut! He's got his military cut going on now! And he loves it which is super cute!
This would be our little 2012 Christmas tree!
Our sweet friend Marion sent us this magical experience in the land of peanut butter and chocolate. Does anything more need to be said?!
We worked on a little art activity this morning while Cale wore his newest addition to his hat collection. We have no idea where this hat came from but when we came back on Sunday there was a wrapped gift in his room that read Darling. He loves it!
Our art activity complete! :o) We walked around the unit like this and Cale actually scared one of the nurses! He came up right behind her and made a crazy noise right as she was turning around and saw him! We also discovered that walking with them and not having a way to see is not the smartest idea...
On Saturday before we checked him out on his pass a small group came to sing carols. Cale sang every song right along with them and on the last one they invited him to join them up front to sing with them and he did! It was so great! I think every one in the room had tears in our eyes...
The Darling's have big plans and ideas for the next year! Our first project will start in January and then we'll have one for each month. We'd love for you to join in as often and with as many as you are able or would like. More info to come soon!