I have been in hospital now for several weeks. Recently a major development occurred – I was allowed home for 4 hour stretches mid-afternoon. Imagine that: weeks in an institution and being institutionalised, and then 4 hours of home.
It has been wonderful – rediscovering my old home again – going through the door, sitting on the old familiar (and time to replace!) settee. And every image in the home tells a story – has a memory – strengthens ones resolve to finally come home for good at last. Up in the bedroom where my wife took me to wash my hair and groom me somewhat I looked at the windowsill and saw one of my favourite objects, and smiled: one transparent “jelly” shoe, once belonging to a four year old, sadly and happily, now a hulking 18 year old who left home recently to go to university.
But seeing the jelly shoe (more of a plastic sandal really) reminded me of the moment and all the motivation. Walking my son into the sand and surf down at Bournemouth beach around 1997 – Joe proudly wearing his 2 jelly shoes on both feet, and then – suddenly – Joe getting stuck, one foot sinking into the sand, and as he pulled away, one jelly shoe coming loose.
Joe was distraught. I rushed to assist – helped him back to shore, but could not for the life of me locate the lost jelly shoe.
He was inconsolable – now only with one jelly shoe. So, in a motivational moment, as we walked home, I told Joe I was going back to find it, and mum would take him home, a wink to mum and she understood.
I shot into the town centre and purchased an identical pair of jelly shoes. Rushed home – voila – presented Joe with one new jelly shoe.
He was 4 years old – but he took it in his little hand, delighted, but also somewhat bemused. At some deep level he suspected dad had tricked him but there was the jelly shoe. A perfect end to a fraught afternoon.
And now the spare jelly shoe I didn’t give him is on the windowsill – a trophy, a reminder, a witness to that wonderful afternoon when my son’s tears were washed away as dad magically found the lost jelly shoe
That’s highly motivating to reflect on – and as I sit in my home with images and ideas such as these surrounding me, I know I shall be strengthened soon to be home finally.