Saturday, July 6, 2013

To skate or not to skate


Uggh, hip hop music.  Ouch, my back is starting to cramp from holding Mesay's noodle legs and dragging him around the rink.  PeeU, this place stinks like Tim's sweaty black flip-flops on a hot car ride with no air.  Man oh man, this place looks the same as it did when I had my 5th birthday party here (a long time ago!!)...
I felt my attitude seriously plunging as I hung out at the Skate Zone 71 tonight with the kids.  It had been in an effort to curtail a rainy week full of boredom that I agreed to it.  I had plenty to do at home which didn't help my mood as I dragged Mesay around on his dora skates.

Suddenly, I saw a girl crash into the emergency exit at the back of the rink.  Yikes, she got up and was going the wrong way into the oncoming skaters!!  I saw the stick in her hand and the cloudy film over her eyes, but I just sat there for a second in amazement...she was blind and she was rollerskating!!  DOUBLE TAKE.  I snapped out of it and said, "turn around quick and follow me."  She moved towards my voice, got going the right way, and had a huge grin on her face as she passed me.  For the next 2 hours, I watched in amazement as several blind ladies put on skates and whirled around the skating rink for the first time.  They were obviously having an awesome time, laughing and smiling as they occasionally took a tumble.  They weren't clinging to the sides but anxious to get going at a fast pace.
I bought Mesay a wheeled walker, and sat myself on the sidelines for a few minutes.  As I watched those ladies skate by, I thought about courage and adversity.  This to me was a perfect example of the two co-mingling.  Strapping on wheeled shoes and sliding out onto a slippery floor was scary enough, but imagine not seeing where you are going in a new environment, now that's brave (not to mention avoiding the 4 year old that zig-zag's back and forth and occasionally does cartwheels on the floor)!!  At any moment, any of us could experience something that changes us or limits us just like them...  Maybe it is being born blind or being diagnosed with a disease that limits your mobility or an emotional scar that stops you in your tracks or a loss too great.  What do you do with it?  Will you miss out on the things around you?  Do you sit on the sidelines and wish things were different or do you strap on skates and bump into a few things? 

Ok, so that's over-simplifying a bit, but I find it is so easy to limit ourselves, to build protective walls around impairments or imperfections which we all have.  Watching the blind skaters tonight moved me to joy.  I did not feel sorry for them at all!  In fact, I envied them.  The courage to skate when your expected to sit it out

Friday, July 5, 2013

Been There, Done That

Mesay struggles with admitting things are new to him.  For example, Winnie says "In Disney World, you get to meet all the princesses."  Mesay retorts, "I know, I've been there."   The discussion goes back and forth, "no you haven't" "yes, I have" until I finally step in and try to help him speak the truth.  Ahhhh, I know it's because he wishes he had done things, wishes he had been here longer, or probably mostly wishes he could say the exact same things Woineshet does.  In this particular situation, we were in the car headed to Circleville.  For those of you who have not attended the pumpkin show, you must realize it is a pretty small town.  Mesay looks out the window and says, "Is this Disney World?"  Irony abounding.

Another example would be the argument I overheard yesterday.  "I've been here longer than Winnie.  I have."  To which Winnie is getting testy and upset about, "YOU HAVE NOT!!!  You've only been her under a year and I have been here 3 1/2 years."  Mesay shouts back, "I have been here longer than you Winnie.  I came home first!"  This has her in a complete tizzy.  She starts explaining how she has been here longer and that she came with us to meet him for the first time one year ago.  All of her careful facts mean nothing to him.  He's screaming, "have too, have too, have too!!"  So, apart from earning a "think it over" time in our living room chair, Mesay managed to give me an idea.

I want to start out by describing things and talking about new experiences before he puts his guard up and says he's done them before.  Sparklers, for example:  We have discussed these "firesticks" and even though he says he's used them before, we say how special it will be to use them for the first time!
We shall see how it works.  For today, He and Winnie put on a play about Mary and Joseph.  He really wanted to be Mary but realized he got to wear Winnie's fur coat as Joseph, so he was cool with it.

While it's important to correct his behavior when necessary, it's pretty funny to see what he comes up with when left to his own imagination!!