I've been thinking about this picture a lot this week.
When my "other" son went to Navy Boot Camp right out of High School - I'd hardly felt that I even had a chance to be with him during his school years. It was hard. "Life with Autism" had necessitated he grow up faster, and more independently than most.
Where most parents had the gradual separation of college, where they could visit, text, talk -- when my son got on that bus that took him to Boot Camp, I had the 'cold turkey' separation. A day later only a three-second phone call where he read from a script just so we knew he got there. Weeks later a letter.
We longed for the PIR date where we could travel to Great Lakes to see our son.
PIR... Boot Camp Graduation. After 8 weeks of separation, parents sit on hard bleachers and check their camera's over and over to make sure they can capture the moment they see their sailor.
Waiting, waiting, waiting.
Then stillness, quiet, and you know it's time. "The door" slowly begins to open and you see the glow of light coming in from under the door.
Oh, that light.
Eight weeks of darkness - no communication, then little communication.
Worrying. Wondering. Waiting.
Then the door opens more and you see that light stream in.
You see feet.
As they come marching in.
Forever changed from the boys who walked off the bus.
It's hard to paint the image that is in a mother's heart.
The relief, pride, joy, love.
The HOPEISM revealed in when that door opens and you realize that your prayers were answered, your faith that he would make it came to fruition.
I don't know that I breathed while that door was opening. You're too busy savoring the moment of anticipation to think of anything else. You relive those long weeks while that door is slowly opening. The hard times of separation, the tense times of worrying, the happy times of getting a letter, and the tearful times of a mamma reading those sleep-deprived letters from her sick, hungry baby! You remember thinking this day would never come!
Yet that day does come.
No matter what you must go through, or how long you must go through it, that day when the waiting is over - does come.
I think more than anything else about my son's Boot Camp, I'll remember those doors and how they symbolized a light in our eight weeks of relative darkness.
I guess why I've been thinking so much about those doors at PIR Graduation so much lately, is because we've been going through a sort of Boot Camp in Brandon's seizures. Some really tough darkness. Some really tough waiting.
Then finally after such darkness, the door started opening for Brandon.
Light we hadn't seen much of in terms of seizure-relief for nearly three years, started creeping in under the door.
And as we had more and more seizure-free days, we could start to see parts of our son again as the door crept higher and higher and the light shone brighter and brighter.
8 seizure-free days - a record.
9 seizure-free days.
13 seizure-free days.
I find myself in familiar territory -- not breathing as finally a door for Brandon is opening.
Too busy savoring the moments.
For however long they last.
Too busy soaking in the light of HOPEISM where prayers are being answered and faith is coming to fruition.
Too busy dreaming and daring to anticipate the day the door is wide open and my seizure-free-for-the-rest-of-his-life son comes dancing through it.
~ ~ ~
Ahhhh, that door of HOPEISM.
For one son, it changed him forever.
For the other son, it changed me forever.