I had a very last minute work trip to Detroit right after the holidays - perfect timing since I hadn't seen my Dad in awhile AND it was Maura's 19th birthday (pics below). It's amazing how Maura got to be 19 yet I'm holding strong at 27. Strange how that happens. I visited Dad each day and we went to dinner a couple of times with Katie and Maura and her friend Natalie. I think he likes that he's surrounded by beautiful women everywhere he goes :)
The additional speech therapy is paying off, although some prompting is still needed it felt like my Dad was more able to get his point across. We were talking about electric cars and how his friend Dennis has come full circle during his retirement and is now working to promote electric vehicles. Dennis must have told my Dad all about it when they went to dinner before Thanksgiving because he knew exactly what I was talking about. I think my Dad will be forever amused by Dennis and all the interesting and funny stories he always has.
The speech therapist surprised Katie and me by helping my Dad make us birthday cards. They were so sweet and such a surprise. I thought I was done being emotional about how things are different these days, but that card caught me way off guard. Since my Dad is out of therapy for a little while, I brought in some supplies so we could make a card for Maura. We talked through what he wanted to write on the card and then I clearly wrote it out for him to look at. We took one practice run and then he wrote it out himself. Dave was all business, it was like he sat down to take his SAT's. He knew exactly when he made a mistake but wasn't able to correct it (I should have brought a pencil). All were very simple fixes and then he could see it was correct and he'd move on to the next letter. He wasn't really into the stickers I bought, he likes things clean and simple these days, but I vetoed him and he reluctantly consented. Always the smart man.
One of the things I find amazing, but not surprising, about my Dad is that there isn't a resident, nurse, or employee at Martha T. Berry that doesn't know Dave. He doesn't talk much but everyone knows his name and he makes a point to say hi to everyone he knows when we go for walks. I used to say the same thing growing up, it didn't seem like there was a single person in Algonac that didn't know (and love) Dave Batchelder. Katie and Maura just experienced the phenomenon crossing back from Canada when the border patrol agent saw Katie's license and said, do you know Dave or Keri? (he just happened to be an old friend of mine that my dad helped out in high school by racing over to patch a hole my friend punched in his wall before his parents got home).
Remember - if you go visit and Dave isn't in his room he's pretty easy to find. He will be somewhere between his room and the front entrance. There is a common area between the pair of elevators on both the first and second floor - sometimes he goes in there to watch the activities and visit with people. Dave is always the early riser and on the move. He gets around perfectly fine on his own (but expect to push if you are together).
I put this pic on facebook and feel it necessary to explain again,
Maura is in 3" heels and I am not shrinking :)