Life has been, well…life. About every 8 or 9 months I seem to go through another “my brain injury isn’t that bad” or “surely I should be back to normal now” phase. I take on more then I can handle and haphazardly fall back into the “your brain injury is that bad” and “this is your normal” realization. I wish I could say that these realizations hit with less force each time, but that would be a blatant lie! 🙂 I remind myself, however, that I do navigate these phases and realizations with better ease each time.
This phase kind of came to a head after Spring Break. We went back to Georgia for the break. As most vacations are, it was wonderful and exhausting. It’s a long drive and when we arrived home, I could tell that we all felt good. That Michigan felt good.
School started right back up and we were back into the full swing of things, but I wasn’t there yet.Visiting Georgia invoked a plethora of feelings and processing my thoughts and feelings is just so much harder post brain injury. I inevitably end up in the same realization but before that happens, it will feel like the first time I am processing something. The recovery from the vacation had me pretty laid out, exhausted and uninspired. It was like reprocessing the whole move again. Alana, my 10 year old daughter, came home from school and tells me about this writing competition that they can enter and I’m all for it. I happen to like writing a little bit myself. I ask her about it and she says something along the lines of “well, we each got a picture of a playhouse and then we need to write a story about it. We can use 100-150 words.” She shows me the illustration and it is a playhouse called Never-Shipwrecked and has a “Lost Boys” flag hanging on the outside. I smile because I know that she loves Peter Pan and can only imagine the story she will come up with. I’m imagining her telling a fun story of Tinkerbell and Peter Pan and maybe throwing herself into the adventure. I start asking her questions about what she is going to write about and she tells me that she has already written most of it.
I’m super excited to hear it and tell her to read it to me. She does. She finishes, looks at me and I am misty eyed and completely transfixed with what she has read to me. I suppose she had the same feeling I did when we returned to Michigan from Georgia: we were home. As I wrote in 2012, I continue to be amazed at how much I learn from my children and how living with a parent with a brain injury affects them. I am quite certain that for every struggle I have with them, I have about a million beautiful moments where they teach me something new. What did Alana teach me this time? What did she put into words for me? Life is magical and although it is always nice to visit where we used to live, there is no place like home. It is my pleasure to share, for a second time on my blog, Alana’s amazing writing:
I stand in my playhouse trying to decide between all the wonderful and magical things I could do. My playhouse is a place. A place where I can escape from the real world. In the real world, there are people that say magic and fantasy is just in books, but I know better. I stare at the dark brown panels of the wall, remembering the times those walls have been lit with laughter. I go out on the deck. I see our “lost boys” flag flying on the tower. Seeing the flag, unlocks the feeling of victory. I climb up to the roof where the old tiles lay. I sit there watching the sun coming up and for just a second, I close my eyes. I take a deep breath and I relax. Home is not just a place, it’s also a feeling. A feeling of safety and comfort. When I am here, I am home.