And I am but the truth is - it's bittersweet.
I do miss home but I've seen the other side, the vast potential that is Bryce, and it's utterly addicting.
Bryce has been in therapy a minimum of three times per week for the last three and a half years, since he was six months old and one month out of the NICU.
I believed fully that we were doing everything we could for him, that we were giving him every possible opportunity and that the progress we were seeing was his full potential for change.
I have to admit that while I was hopeful, I was also weary. I came here with an open heart and a doubtful mind.
Y'all - it was so much more than I could have ever hoped for, so much.
Sure, I would have loved for Bryce to have come home walking independently but that simply wasn't realistic. I have seen him make full-scale, across-the-board progress that makes his past progress seem just silly.
And did I mention, I witnessed full blown, absolutely independent steps? FOUR of them!?
I'll admit that I was skeptical. I was raised to question everything and that if a thing seems too good to be true, well it probably is.
But this place is the real deal. I've personally witnessed subtle, consistent changes in Bryce including:
- increased walking endurance
- a longer attention span
- more safe walking and transitions in and out of the walker
- putting hands in front of his face to brace against falling (this is epic - maybe no more ER chin stitches!)
- more consistent use of right hand
- using BOTH hands together (unless this is a problem you battle, you can't begin to understand how much it changes everything about your day and daily routine)
- longer periods of stable, independent standing
- more often standing up from the ground completely independently
- vastly increased vocalizations
- much, much more intentional "communication" coupled with an eagerness to communicate we've never before been privy to
- more social independence
- and more!
Seeing Bryce have the opportunity to exceed his own, and our, perceived limitations, interact with peers and be in a group of children with similar challenges has been life altering. The way he lights up when we run into another kid from the CLC almost makes up for the 10 extra minutes that means it will take to reach our destination. ;-)
The conductors here have this perfect balance of stern, do-what-I-say and loving affection that results in optimum performance. If I could take them home, if that were an option, I'd do it in a heartbeat and figure out the details later.
Unfortunately, that isn't an option and so now I begrudgingly prepare for our return home while trying earnestly to figure out how to continue this forward motion and get back here as soon as possible.
The simple fact is that every step of progress, every milestone before this came so slowly that it was hard to even celebrate. Bryce didn't roll over until after his first birthday, he sat up independently just before his 2nd birthday and only began walking with a walker at 2 1/2 years. His endurance walking in the last 1 1/2 years has limited him to short distances at home or school.
His progress in the last five weeks is incredible and, as I've said to people here many times over the last week or so, I'm ready to home but I don't want to stop.
Unfortunately, that isn't realistic. And so to home we go, with a heavy heart and hopeful eye.