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Archive for June 27th, 2020

Funny how last time I wrote, I was already complaining about not seeing Jonah, about feeling shut in, about the brave new world.  It had been 20 long days since Andy and I were with him, celebrating his 18th birthday.

It would be 92 more days before we’d see him again.  

Last Sunday, Father’s Day, I finally drove down to Andy’s apartment and together we visited Boo on the Anderson campus for a scheduled hour.   We brought masks, hand sanitizer, 2 new pair of swim trunks, bubble & balloon toys, 2 McDonald’s chicken sandwiches (no lettuce extra mayo), and a sugar jelly donut from Dunkin’ Donuts, nutirition be damned.  It was Thanksgiving and Christmas and the 4th of July and everyone’s birthday and Mother’s and Father’s Day all rolled into one.  We were there with him in person.  This called for celebration!

Jonah’s house manager and primary caregiver, Briana, set up a picnic table in the shade – she’d thoughtfully brought me a pretty potted verbena flower and hooked Jonah up with a big tub of gummy worms.  She’d waited until just a few minutes prior to tell him we were coming.  Confused, he headed for the office where he always sat for video visits.  No, she told him.  They’re coming here to see you!  He didn’t comprehend this, and we were wary, not sure what to expect.  

Near the front door of the house, she followed Anderson’s careful Covid screening protocol, taking our temps and asking us questions about symptoms and exposure.  Then she went inside to get Boo.  When he first came out, he looked at Andy, then me, then Briana, then me again.  Mama, he said flatly, eyes narrowing, walking over to us.  Briana walked with us to the picnic table to make sure everything was cool.  Thankfully, it was.  He loved the food and sat happily eating while I showed him one of the balloon toys.

He did ask for car ride repeatedly, but we kind of expected that.  They haven’t approved off-campus visits yet, so we tried to make do by bringing the car near and letting him sit in it, music on.  We figured he’d want to stay sitting in the car for the whole rest of the visit, but then Andy suggested a walk and Boo was all about that.  He jumped out of the car and started off happily.  I jogged to catch up, and the three of us walked through the campus, passing picnic tables where other families visited with their kids.   

It was God-awful hot – a choking, shimmering kind of heat that reflects on pavement and feels like a heavy weight.  Seemingly impervious to it, Jonah led the way, the 3 of us circling past the pool area and back to our shady spot.  Every so often we’d hear a screaming screech or see a kid running, not sure if they were happy or freaking out.  I reckon there were some residents who got really upset when their families didn’t take them off campus.  We’re grateful Jonah seemed to understand we would be back again soon, though he did require constant assurances.  Daddy’s coming in 6 days, Andy told him.  Ree-pee (repeat), Jonah said.  Daddy’s coming in 6 days, Andy told him.  Ree-pee, Jonah said.  And so on.  Yes, Boo.  We’ll be back.  Of course we’ll be back!

Before our visit ended, Andy and Jonah took a second walk and I packed up our stuff.  I watched them stroll away, happy to see Boo looking up smiling at his dad.  He did well, really well.  And when we said goodbye, he walked back in his house without fanfare. 

Whew.  

Andy’s visiting him again today, and tomorrow I’ll drive down and we’ll both visit.  We’d love to take him on a home visit but we’ll take what we can get, knowing Anderson is putting safety first at every turn.   I can’t say enough about Anderson’s staff, from the president on up to the direct caregivers themselves.   But that’s another post, which I’ll make soon.  With photos and news of what I’ve been doing to stay sane since Mid-March. 

But here are a few pics of Jonah from the months when he couldn’t be with him:

The swimming one was taken just two days ago, when they finally got approval to open up the pool.  Briana texted me the photo right away and told me he was very excited to be back in his element!  Still a fish, my son.  I’d love to get him back to the ocean eventually.  But, you know, one step at a time.  

We’re surfacing here in New York State, a little.  Cautiously and masked. 

Onward ho!

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