Family Visit #10 was January 5th 2019. To hit the double digits in our number of Family Visit dates since beginning them in September 2017 is bittersweet; happy that we get to have this special time together and feeling grateful for it, sad that we are still dealing with this when Sean should have been home a long time ago. Family Visits to us are absolutely everything to us. They are our goal, what we strive towards and hold onto. Because we did not get to have a Family Visit in December, this time we celebrated Christmas; we even wore Christmas PJs for the first time ever! We both loved it.
Sean is the best husband I could have ever asked for. He says “I am ready to take care of us at Family Visit, because you take care of us every day.” This is true, I work hard to provide for us and by the time I reach Family Visit at the end of my work week I am very tired from waking up at 3 am to get to the prison. So Sean cooks every meal we share, even the cookies. He does all the clean up, including washing the dishes and cleaning the unit before and after. He keeps us stocked in iced tea because the tap water tastes weird. He gets us ready for our shower by collecting everything we need and bringing it all with us, he adjusts the water to get the temperature right and keeps the oven open to heat the place up so we are not freezing when we get out since we cannot adjust the thermostat. When we are ready to watch a movie he gets the couch set up for us by spreading out our sheet to sit on, making us a big pillow out of our blanket, and getting snacks out of the food box. He sets up our bed for us and gets us ready to sleep at night, placing water bottles on each side, making us our sleepy time tea and getting the lighting just right. We are a team together, we enjoy taking care of each other.
The lack of sleep at Family Visit affects us both. Sleep deprivation does weird things to one’s brain. It makes everything blur together and puts a haze over our eyes. The second evening of our family visit and I wasn’t feeling very well, I had a stomach ache. We were both utterly wrecked, attempting to sleep on the cheap, stained mattress- without actual pillows. Seeing my discomfort and distress, Sean asked me what I would do if I were at home. I explained my desire to be more elevated. He moved behind me, my head on his chest, while his back was supported by the wall from behind. I settled back into him, feeling comfortable at last. I quickly nodded off, using my husband as a pillow. It was much needed sleep. He faded in and out of sleep sitting against the wall until it was time for the 12:30 am count. That is just a small example of the tenderness I see in Sean every moment we are together.
Family Visit is another world entirely and anyone who has never been in that situation would have difficulty understanding the full experience. But I do my best to express what it is like and share our journey with those who wish to read it. It is also for us to have later on down the road as an account of what we have been through, to be able to look back and see how far we have come together.
Sean’s PJ Pants