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It's amazing what you can learn from a 2 year old...

Ok, to be fair, he is closer to 3 than he is 2, but either way, shouldn't I be the one teaching him lessons instead of the other way around? I'm talking, of course, about our grandson, Theo. He came to stay with grandma and grandpa last night, and let's just say that he seemingly never gets tired! As tired as we get, we absolutely adore our only (for now) grandbaby. This morning, is when I learned a very valuable lesson from Theo, both as it applies to life after my stroke, and my life after the loss of my only son, Brendan. Picture it, Sicily, 1924...wait, where did the Golden Girls reference come from? Maybe I should just go back and erase it, but, I probably won't. In fact, the fact you are reading this means I did not...Anyway, picture it, we are oustide this morning; it is a pretty chilly morning, there is some frost on the car windows, we can see our breath, and Theo is watching the dogs play in our backyard. And then he spots it: his "bike." He runs over to it, sits down, and begins to roll away as fast as his little legs can propel him (his bike has no pedals, so he has to use his legs to push as he propels himself forward...) He is having a great time, and I am having a great time watching him. Then he got to the end of the sidewalk, where the grass in the our backyard begins, and he just kept going. But, the bike did not want to move so quickly in the grass. I spoke up and said to him, "you can't use the bike in the grass; it won't work..." And, without missing a beat, he said to me, "I can try..." and try he did. He kept pushing himself, and trying to propel himself through the grass, but eventually he found that he could not do it, so he brought his bike back to the sidewalk. A few minutes later, we were in another section of the yard and there was a small pile of leaves, so he announced that he wanted to ride his bike in the leaves. Again I spoke up, "I don't think you can ride your bike in the leaves; I don't think it will work..." Again he said, "I can try..." and try he did. He kept pushing himself, and trying to propel himself through the leaves, but, alas, he found he could not do it, so he brought his bike back to the sidewalk. A few minutes later, we were near one of our trees, surrounded by a lot of dirt: no grass and no leaves, so he announced that he wanted to ride his bike in the dirt. Again I spoke up, "I don't think you can ride your bike in the dirt; it won't work..." and again he immediately said, "I can try..." and try he did. But, this time, he was able to propel himself in the dirt, around in circles. He found that as long as he stayed on the dirt, his bike would work, and he just kept riding his bike in the dirt until it was time to go inside. Once we were inside, I had a few minutes to reflect on his escapade outside and it dawned on me: sometimes I approach life, both post stroke and post loss of my son with this attitude - I don't think I can do it this way; I don't this will work, so I won't even give it a fair chance. I won't even try. But, I learned from Theo this morning that, even if I have never done it that way before, and even if I don't think it will work, I want to at least try it. It might be, as with the grass and the leaves that I find that, in reality, it does not work, so I need to go back to what is comfortable (the sidewalk), but it might also be, like his bike in the dirt, that I find out it does work, and I actually enjoy it. Sometimes in life we get so accustomed to what we are comfortable with that we do not want to even try doing something else: a different way of communicating since my stroke, a different way of staying active since my stroke and maybe a different way of celebrating holidays since my son died. Maybe I can at least try. If I find it does not work, I always have the sidewalk to come back to. Maybe I need to have the "I can try" attitude to life. Thank you, Theo...


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