In December of 2014, Jack walked into the kitchen and caught me while I was washing dishes. “I remember a few things about the day Grandma died.”
“Dad? Can we light my candle?” Jack asked me yesterday morning.
I looked to the clear mason jar on the hutch in the living room. It was magnificent. The lid was dotted with toy gems, while the innards of the jar were filled with colored granules in a red/white/blue flowing pattern. Jack’s handiwork had been sitting there long enough for the candle to be invisible to my eyes over time. “Sure,” I said, despite it being the middle of Summer with the temperature hanging around 80. “How come?”
“We were never able to use it after I made it, because of Grandma’s oxygen machine.”
The server looked at Jack in his baby carrier as we sat in the restaurant booth. “Will his legs grow out normal?” She asked.
We explained that his legs would always be shorter than others. “How sad,” she replied.
“Hey Dad,” Jack said to me while he scootered to school, “if you want to get exercise and lose weight – no offense – we could do this every Monday!”
His school is about a mile from home.
With his short legs and prosthetic limb, that distance would take over an hour and wear him out to the point of exhaustion if he were to walk. He had been talking about scootering to school all weekend, and this morning he insisted once again. I first said no, because the weather was changing and I was fearful that it would take too too long. Then I saw an article link in my FB describing how a father hauled his disabled son up to the top of an amazing outlook in a National Park because he thought his son would like the view – a trip that would have been impossible for someone with his disability. ‘Jeez Kurt,’ I thought after that, ‘get out the dang scooter.’
Jack rolled his way to school in twenty minutes.
Let ’em loose and find out what they can do.
“So did you have fun at the Kid Zone today?” I asked one day in April 2010.
David – 8 years old at the time – and his little brother Jack were playing in the kid’s room at the YMCA while I worked out. It was a big room that housed a two-story structure on one end with climbing and slides. Inside, there were all sorts of nooks and crannies where kids could hide out and do stuff outside the sight of room leaders.
“Yeah,” he said. “But some kids were making fun of Jack’s legs. One of them pushed him down.”
Jack has a disability, and wears a prosthetic leg.
“That’s not nice. Did you tell the teacher?”
“No,” he said calmly. “I took care of it.”
David is part Sicilian, so I immediately had thoughts of bully kids “sleeping with the fishes,” or being wacked and hidden between the play structure and the wall. Of course, neither were true. But it was funny to imagine a TV Version of the story.
“What you do you mean ‘you took care of it?'” I asked.
“I told them it wasn’t okay to make fun of people,” he replied. “And they stopped.”
Phew. Good job David 🙂
I felt like I was being watched.
Jack and I were standing outside his classroom, waiting to enter single file. Jack was nibbling the breakfast he couldn’t finish in the cafeteria due to our late arrival. The feeling persisted. Was it another adult wondering who I was and why I was there?
I looked down and saw Jack’s friend Lucky staring at me, smiling big and giving a thumbs up. What a great way to start a Monday 🙂