Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Being Thankful

With Thanksgiving having just past and the Christmas season in full bloom, I had to post about a recent conversation I had with a dear friend whose child had been on the program for a few years. We were discussing all the things she had been through over time so that her child has now arrived at being practically well. There have been many ups and downs. There have been times of clear progress, times of “status quo”, and times of regression. But she stayed the course and continued completing the program each day with her child. (only 5-ish days per week)

What struck me about our conversation was when she said she was grateful for all the time she spent creeping & crawling with her child. Not too many parents have fond things to say about creeping & crawling so I had to hear more. She talked about time spent pretending they were in different battles of the American Revolution. She told me how they crawled and crept their way through many of the battles and fended off the Redcoats to gain their independence from Great Britain. There were hilarious stories of ways in which her child had interpreted different events. The Revolution through the perspective of a child is indeed very interesting.

She also spoke of how it had focused her time with her child. Without needing her to pay undivided attention to creeping & crawling, it would have been very easy to be distracted by phone calls, email, social events, television, etc. But because her efforts HAD to be focused, they were. She was exclusively focused on her child, his perspective in accomplishing his creeping/crawling distances, and the goal of a well-organized brain.

She also talked about what it taught her child. When her child needed her, she was there. She placed this priority above all others. She stayed with her child when it wasn’t so much fun to be creeping & crawling. She was there when it was exciting to re-enact the battle scenes, and even when it wasn’t exciting. She gave her child the confidence of knowing that his mother was on his side—always—even when it was hard. She would always hang in there–and her child had the wonderful security of knowing it.

For these and other reasons, my friend was grateful for the time she spent creeping & crawling with her child.

I have had wonderful adventures with my son during our creeping & crawling time. When he was younger, he was a Thomas the Tank Engine fan(atic), so we played endless games. I always had to be Diesel 10 with the jagged claw (at his insistence), while my son would be various other characters racing to escape my evil character. I would talk in a crazy voice and even used the BBQ tongs as my jagged claw. My son very favorably remembers the Thomas games. He also said it is how he knows that I know how to play.

As Dawson grew older, his interests evolved to animals (especially dogs). So I would walk behind him as he crept and crawled, reading novels to him. I was able to expose him to literature that was more sophisticated than he was able to read on his own. One such book was “Where the Red Fern Grows”. We loved the adventures and were able to compare earning a pair of hound dogs to working hard to organize a brain. We sat down and cried together when Old Dan and Little Ann died. We had similar experiences with “Old Yeller”, “Swiss Family Robinson”, “Lassie Come Home”, “Bridge to Terabithia”, “Tale of Despereuax” and many others.

Because my son has four older brothers that are all super athletes, he felt he couldn’t be as cool as them because he can’t run fast (yet). But now he has confidence that he CAN do hard things. He runs his own races and has equated creeping & crawling with long-distance running. He accomplishes a marathon distance each month on his hands & knees. His brothers really respect how hard he works and tell him they don’t work any harder during football workouts. The respect has gone both ways—he adores his big brothers and they honor his diligence, persistence and tremendous effort.

After talking with my friend, I realized that I, too, am grateful for the time spent creeping & crawling. I’m grateful that in my busy life I have taken (and still take) time to focus on the goal of my son being well—WITH MY SON. It has been overall a sweet experience. We have had our tough days, but we worked through them and stayed the course. We learned together that we do what is right even when it’s hard.

I have come to see the challenge of creeping & crawling as an invitation to be focused on your child, to work together to achieve a lofty goal, to manage your time better, to prioritize your commitments, and especially to maintain perspective on your desired outcome—a neurologically well-organized child.

A big “thank you” to my friend who expressed her gratitude. Her focus and persistence shows up in the neurological organization of her child. She is a terrific example for me and I hope by sharing a bit of our conversation, you will be uplifted also. We can do this. The way has been trod before us and we can get the same prize.

I’m ready!!!