Charley was with me when I fell. In an instant he went from a four-year-old maturity level (following me around the house wanting me to clean his DVDs) to a twenty-two-year-old man consumed with worry about his mother.
“Mom, okay?” he said, squatting, looking down at me, his lips quivering, trying not to cry.
“We’re in for a long day,” I said, between my screams.
And it was.
It’s the pits being separated from family. Not just for me, but for everyone. In the mornings Brad calls around seven o’clock. Sometimes Charley won’t get out of bed (a sure sign that all is not right with his world).
Brad puts us on the speakerphone.
“Charley, Mama’s on the phone.”
This usually gets him to open his eyes.
“Hi Charley, you up yet?”
“Umost (almost),” he says. “Mommy, I miss you.”
“I know you do, honey. I miss you too. Call me sometime today on your cell phone, and come see me tonight, okay?”
“Ok, Mom. Love you.”
“Love you too, Charley. I’m so proud of you for helping Daddy.”
“I can’t wait to see you tonight.”
Charley’s been a rock through this whole ordeal. He comes to see me every day for about an hour.
When he gets here his priorities fall in this order:
1.) Fling open the door, followed by an announcement. “It’s me, Charley Palmer, your son.”
2.) Dump whatever he’s carrying onto the bed (that’s where he will veg out for however long he’s here.)
3.) If he’s lucky enough to get here close to mealtime, he looks on my tray to see if there’s anything for him (scrambled eggs, Salisbury steak, tater tots, stuff like that).
4.) Kiss me on the cheek
5.) Ask for the TV remote (this means he gets to watch anything he wants while Brad and I visit).
About an hour into visit he says, “Daddy, go home now?” It’s hard to let him go, it seems like he just got here, but he knows when he’s had enough so it’s best to say our goodbyes.
On his way out he says to the nurses aides, “Take good care my Mom.”
They assure him that they will.
Most times before he leaves he sits down next to my leg or bends over and pats it. Then he kisses it.
“All butter now?” he says.
How could it not be?