A Debt That Can’t Be Paid

Yesterday marked a change in one of our routines that has become a fixture in our lives: physical therapy. For the last three years, the same physical therapist has come to our home weekly, and sometimes twice a week. Last month, she switched agencies, and in order to follow her, I’ve had to start taking M to therapy at a clinic.

It’s easy. I like the clinic just fine. But, it felt weird to see our pt in a different place. I love the honesty of children because the change was written all over M’s face when we first walked into the clinic. She furrowed her little brow, looked all around the room, and then stared right into our pt’s face. She seemed to be asking, “What are you doing here?”

The change definitely makes our pt’s life easier, and it won’t take long for us to adjust. But, when so much of our lives have been upended, seeing K every week at our home was one constant. It’s strange how important someone can become to you. Sure, she’s helped our kids move, which for J was quite a feat, but it’s so much more than that. She’s anchored me during the rough waters of the last few years: J’s LONG babyhood, my high-risk pregnancy with M, our second NICU stay, and now the adventures M provides. She has so much knowledge of my kids–their personalities, their tendencies, their strengths and weaknesses. I can tell her a story about them, and she gets it. No background needed. No details provided. K just gets it because she has been here with us through it all.

I’ve seen people complain on preemie websites about therapy. I’ve heard moms say it’s not worth it, and I can’t say one way or another for them. But, for my kids and for me, our weekly pt sessions have been a critical part of our NICU recovery, of working our way out of prematurity and into the world.

I know our time with K is winding down. On the way home yesterday I tried to think of how I’ll thank K. What will I say? What can I do?

But, sometimes you just owe a debt to someone that you cannot repay. I’ll just have to hope I can pay it forward to someone else.

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