The other day, when I accompanied Cole (my disabled son) to the airport to fly to Oregon for a white water kayaking experience, I had the daunting task of taking my hands off his care and entrusting his well being to himself. …Please take a moment to pause at this sentence and consider that I am a mother, who loves her son. Period.
Pause, pause, pause, pause.
I was standing next to Cole at the Jet Blue gate, while he was sitting in a wheelchair holding his USMC backpack and his cane. He was awaiting the escort who would take him to the taxiing jet. When the escort arrived, Cole was juggling his boarding pass along with the other two items mentioned. I found myself ready and eager to assist with suggestions for a more efficient and safe ride to the plane EXCEPT, the USMC emblem on the pack reminded me of who my son is and who he isn’t.
He is a capable and experienced human being. He is not a feeble unaware teenaged child. He is a burgeoning man who has several travel experiences, without his mommy and daddy, under his belt. He is not without knowledge of how to hold a ticket, backpack, and cane while being escorted via wheelchair through corridors–after all, he traveled to Nicaragua in January just after having had an eye surgery! He is his own being. He is not mine.
As I caught myself and halted my intrusive actions, I waved goodbye and watched him pass through the door with himself as his advocate and a stranger for an escort. I turned toward the exit and coaxed myself through the door with the above reminders guiding my every step back to the parked car. Had Cole been underage, I would have stayed until the airplane lifted off the ground. But again, he is not that little boy any more, so I kept walking. In my journey to the roof top of the parking structure I reminisced about the last email sent to us from the camp Cole was off to (www.firstdescents.org). It was an email with a waiver attached that was mandatory he sign in order to attend. It was a “Risk Of…” waiver. Essentially, as you can fathom with a white water kayak camp, the waiver covered any and all possible risks of injury, illness, and potential death. He had to sign his life away in order to live. OK, that was a bit of a dramatic statement, but it works so I’ll leave it be.
Now at my car, I sat a moment in the silence ever so present due to the vacancy of the passenger seat. And the idea of “risk of..” kept rolling over and over within my mind. At that moment I wanted to express a profound prayer on my son’s behalf, but “risk of, risk of, risk of…” kept me from being able to land on continual thoughts which could possibly formulate into a petition to The Father to benefit my son. And then I finally realized, “Yes, there is a ‘risk of’. But that is a risk we all have to take, every day of our lives. And Cole, fully aware, was interested in experiencing life despite the known perils.” With the calm now present within my soul which came from the acceptance of the statement, I was ready to formulate a prayer.
“Lord, I pray Cole will have a good time. And Lord, if he dies, I pray he dies happy…amen.”
I then turned on the car, drove out of the structure, and left the area before the plane took off. Knowing full well the risks of the day, the hour, the moment, and the future. Risks I’m willing to take and be a part of. It is just plain old living. Nothing new, no epiphany, just plain ‘ol livin’.
Cole called this morning. He hasn’t yet been on the white water or in the kayak. He has been sick to his stomach and very aware he is the only camper who is challenged physically, to the degree he is. I handed the phone to my loving husband and walked away. His dad gave him a pep talk over the phone and I am giving myself one still…
“Risk of, Rivka. …risk of!”