Back when the assault was over and he was gone from my house, I packed up my son and left. I drove over the hill, racing the morning light of the sun to the west end of town towards freedom. I was in my mom’s arms, then buckled up in the back seat of the car with my head on my son’s lap making my way to the ER with a police escort to have a rape kit completed. The police officer and SANE nurses told me that I saved my son’s life. They told me I saved my life.
I appreciate life when I realize how beautiful and caring the people who surround me are. When I experience selflessness and the support they show me through my worst times. When my sister flew around the world to be with me. When my son's father flew across the country. When my friends and co-workers show me kindness, care, and compassion.
I appreciate life when I participate in a non-traditional therapy activity and I’m in the moment and get an, “Ah… yes,” feeling… Because takes so much to have that feeling now days. You know, that feeling of forgetting the trauma and hurt and simply being in the moment.
I appreciate life when my five-year-old son is sitting so quietly in the back seat of the truck with his hands clasped in his lap, running his right thumb gently across his left thumb as he stares out the window. His big brown eyes are looking up towards the tops of the buildings we pass as we drive through downtown. His eyelashes gently brush his cheeks as he silently blinks, soaking in the surroundings that he is unfamiliar with. His mouth is open just a little, and his chest rises and falls with so much life with every breath. He is content, he is safe, he is learning, he is alive.
I appreciate life when I put my son to bed and he initiates the hug. He wraps his little arms around my neck and his soft skin presses against my cheek. Then I put my head on his chest and hear his heartbeat through his Spiderman pajamas. He knows what I’m doing, so he listens to my heartbeat next. A smile grows on his face when he hears the thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump.
I appreciate life when I acknowledge that I survived and have more time to experience life with my little man.