On the way to Henry's last occupational therapy appointment I stopped at the florist to pick up an orchid. I'd agonized for weeks about how to thank R, the OT who single-handedly kept me from buying a one-way ticket to a foreign land during the dark days. The days when getting Henry out of the house in the morning always ended in tears (both me and Henry) and the days when I cursed the drunken night I decided I wanted to have a baby. Now it was our last day. Henry was graduating with honors and we had to say goodbye to her.
I looked forward to Tuesdays with R, because when she wasn't sharing my joy with Henry's successes she was talking me off the ledge. It wasn't just an OT session for Henry, it was therapy for me too. And when she'd let her guard down and share a personal story I felt like she liked me. Like she really cared.
She's the only person on the planet who felt as happy as I did when Henry stopped gagging at the site of deli meat and when he finally drew a circle instead of scribbling. Her wisdom, guidance and support made it possible for me to be a good mom to Henry. I settled on the beautiful plant, because it lasts a very long time, but not forever. Exactly how I wanted her to remember us.
Sometimes when I say goodbye to people I bite the inside of my mouth really hard so I won't start crying. As we walked to the elevator to go home she yelled after us, "I'll miss you terribly". I bit down harder and didn't say a thing.