Yesterday, Joshua went out for the day with his PA for the first time in a while. I woke him up when she had texted to say that she was on her way so that he was as rested as could be and he was dressed and breakfasted when she arrived and he gave her a great beam when he came into the room. They disappeared off in the car leaving us with a Joshua-free day stretching before us.
I had lots of plans for the day and I went to tell my husband what they were and the next thing I knew, I had fallen into a deep sleep for 15 minutes! Feeling as though I had wasted some precious time, we were up and out quickly. I realised, although I love him dearly, how much easier going shopping is without Joshua : no need to pack up the car with the wheelchair and changing bag, but we only needed to get ourselves off; we could both go in the same shops at the same time, without one of us waiting outside when a store is busy; we could walk side by side and me not be chasing my husband with the slow wheelchair and crowds did not seem as intimidating, even though the streets were busy; we could eat lunch where we chose, not where was Joshua/wheelchair friendly and we could leave when we had had enough, and not because of a seizure or a grumpy teenager.
I would not like to go shopping without Joshua often, as despite all that, I missed him and I spent more than usual, but it was a liberating treat and I am sure that is what respite is about for the parents. He will be making his first overnight stay at the end of November, just one friday night, and then a full weekend away by the end of December, so perhaps after almost a year with no overnight respite, we will begin to get used to having some child-free time again.
But respite is not just for the parents : Joshua had a lovely day out a local aquarium plus his favourite lasagne for lunch, which has got to be an improvement on shopping with his parents, so everybody wins!