Received and Understood

Joshua has a damaged brain resulting in severe learning difficulties, and so when he understands something for himself, it is a real cause for celebration. It was the final day of our holiday yesterday and so my husband and I were busy tidying and packing up. Unusually I had booked an evening ferry to try to avoid rush hour traffic and to squeeze in another day of holiday. So Joshua patiently watched his Live 8 show DVD much of the day while I hoovered and dusted around him. He was delighted when we stopped for lunch and walked him down the road to a cafe, but otherwise he remained indoors all day. We were finally ready at 4.30, perfect timing to catch our 6pm ferry home. As we were pulling away from our holiday home, Joshua spontaneously said ” Bye…bye, thank you!” He understood that we were leaving and that we were lucky to have had a super holiday. It was just a perfect ending to our trip and confirmed what we already knew, that he loves it there and that he had really enjoyed his holiday.

The only downside is the 300 mile distance from our home, which means that we face a long drive home. Somehow the journey never feels as onerous on our way there, as the excitement and anticipation of the holiday speeds us on our way. But we do not have that boost on the way home. We tried the 6pm ferry to avoid traffic congestion, but last night we got caught up in it in the Midlands anyway adding an extra half hour to our journey time. My husband drove all the way home and so it was his decision to stop at services, where there was a McDonalds restaurant. Joshua was dozing in the back of the car and so he did not see the approaching golden arches logo which usually gets him so excited. I whispered his name to wake him and immediately he jumped up, recognised where he was and he began repeating “thank you..thank you!”. He really savoured all of his chicken strips and fries, eating it carefully, as though he was trying to stretch out this meal stop as long as possible, knowing that only another 4 hours in the car awaited.

It was 12.15 by the time we arrived home, long past all of our bedtimes. Sometimes, he collapses into bed immediately after a late drive but not last night, he had urgent business to attend to : we were just inside the door and I had removed his splints and boots, when he asked in his low voice for “music!”. That means he wanted to go into the lounge and listen to his beloved, and clearly missed, Verve CD. So of course I obliged and he got re-acquainted while I unpacked the food bags that we had brought home. Twenty minutes later I retrieved him and gave him his supper of Weetabix, with his bedtime medication then took him upstairs to bed. I thought that he would settle, exhausted but he was in and out of bed, up and downstairs, until he finally gave in to sleep after 2am – so I am expecting him to have a lie in this morning.

Normally I get the post-holiday blues, but not this time as I have 21st birthday celebrations to prepare for, so that will see me through – that and the fact that I am already planning our return visit.

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