It has been seven weeks since Robert left his Old Home which filled his days with movies, music, reading circle and bingo (and filled his fridge with Milky Way candy bars with every bingo win!).
Nothing was going to prevent me from getting Robert to Day Program today. Not a visit to the ER, not a bandage still wrapped around his head, not the van transport not being set up.
I arrived early to Robert’s New Home to be sure he was ready to go just in case the van transport arrived at 8:00 a.m. (their arrival was still unconfirmed as of 7:00 this morning). I knew we had a two hour window of time to check into the Day Program so decided to allow them time to show up but still allow me time to take Robert if they didn’t show up. (I secretly hoped they wouldn’t show so I could take Robert on his first day).
Robert was finishing up in the bathroom when I arrived. The Aide said he had already eaten breakfast, taken his medication and had a lunch packed and ready for him in the fridge. Oops – I don’t have a lunch bag for him! (Add that to my list along with soda and razors).
I packed a “just in case” bag (protective underwear and a change of clothes) and waited for him to get out of the bathroom. Robert finished up and walked out to greet me. His smile was enormous.
Are you ready for Day Program, Robert?
“Yes, I am.” The grin got bigger.
I explained that we had to wait a few minutes to see if the van would show up. He stared at me like he was considering if this was a good idea or not. I suggested we play one game of cards and then we would go. He continued to mull over what I was telling him. I assured him we wouldn’t be late.
“Okay.” Sheesh. I’ve never had to talk him into playing cards before!
We finished the game in record time and Robert stood up. He’s ready to go.
Robert got into the car and asked “How long till we get there?” Someone is excited!
We arrived at the Day Program and I walked Robert inside. He was still grinning and I was going over the essentials: here’s your lunch, wear your helmet, House Manager will bring you your meds, I will pick you up at 2:30. We walked in the door while I worried that the New Home hadn’t communicated his starting today. The worry was short-lived as Robert was greeted by name by two staff members.
I didn’t think his grin could get any bigger but it did (his cheeks are going to hurt!). Do you need any paperwork from me (hopefully not since New Home didn’t send any with me)?
“No, we have a binder on him.” Oh my god, I’m in love.
All of a sudden, it felt like the first day I took my daughter to kindergarten. I teared up and gave Robert a hug and told him to have a good day. He said his usual goodbyes (“I love you” and “God Bless You”) and walked off with the staff.
I almost cried when I picked him up too. How was your day Robert?
“It was very good.” His grin was still there. He was bursting with excitement and told me all about his day (“I saw a movie, we had lunch, and then saw another movie but didn’t see all of that because you came to get me.”). As we left, the staff asked him how he liked it and, still grinning, told them “it was very good.”
On the car ride home he told me about a person he met and about the “prom” coming up on Friday. “I have to wear my Sunday best.”
“I want to wear my black pants and a nice shirt.” (I thought I was the only one who planned my outfits days in advance). I assured him I would find his black pants and a shirt for him and he would look very nice.
Before getting to the New Home, we stopped for a chocolate shake and a lunch bag.
Robert had a very good day.