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This One’s for SuperEve

20 Oct

The promised story…

When Cole was a baby, Brian and I took him on a road trip to the Grand Canyon.  Brian had purchased a 1963 Ford Galaxy 500 (a purchase that bothered me from the onset), and that is the vehicle we used to take us on our adventure.  Brian had the good idea of traveling along old Route 66 for as much of the drive as possible.  And after I mapped it out with triple A (AAA), I knew our road trip was going to be a load of fun.  Along the way I had planned for us to visit the Grand Canyon Caverns, Lake Havasu and the London bridge, and a few old towns in-between.  The more I researched our route, the more excited about our trip I became.

The day finally came for our long anticipated vacation, and being that the Galaxy could only accommodate Cole’s car seat in the front seat, I sat in the back.  At the time that didn’t bother me so much, however writing it down now makes me quite ticked off…ok, just kidding!  Anyway, cutting right to the ‘heart o my story’…

We arrived at the Grand Canyon and though it was majestic and sunny and perfect, the Galaxy was not.  I can’t quite remember what went awry between Brian and his beloved muscle car, but something most definitely did.  Brian became irritated by something malfunctioning in the car and felt it required immediate attention.  Now you need to understand that I have married a most passionate man (if you didn’t know that already).  For the most part, I love his passion; it is constant and never ceasing, and in my opinion, beautiful.  However, in that moment, at the Grand Canyon–our anticipated destination–his passion for that Ford 500 was a violation to my soul.  A trespassing upon my idea for our family vacation.  Yet Brian decided we needed to leave the “world wonder” immediately, so we could get to our hotel with plenty of sunlight to spare.  In truth, he took on a sour attitude and had I pitched a fit to stay (my passion is no match for his, or wasn’t at the time), it would not have changed his mind.  So back in the car we went and out of the National Park his Galaxy took us.

Sitting in the back of the car I distinctly remember looking out the back window, teary eyed, reading and re-reading the sign, “Welcome to the Grand Canyon.”  In that moment I was excruciatingly hurt.  I was disappointed and miserable.  Then, as the sign became illegible, I was mad.  Mad at Brian, my “beloved” (thought with sarcasm).  And that is when the Lord spoke to my heart, mind, and soul.  He offered me a choice…

I could remain miserable, angry, and sad.  I could hold this transgression against Brian, justifiably.  I could continue to hurt and even make Brian pay by treating him poorly the rest of the trip and making sure he knew he “blew it”.

OR,

I could choose to forgive him.  I could choose to take on a good attitude even when I deserved the bad.  I could focus on our moments together (in that awful car), and make sure that our vacation was not a waste.  I could, in essence, put my relationship before my disappointment in that one moment.  I could choose to be happy.

Well it took me a little while of sitting silent in the back seat, but I did (key phrase here) “put the concept into action”.  I applied the second of the two choices.  It really did (and does) make a difference.  Though the Canyon was not mine that year, we did go back when Esther was 4 and Cole was almost 9.  Another road trip, different car–a rental I believe (I can choose to have a good attitude but that doesn’t make me stupid!).  And the rest of my time with Brian and Cole on that first trip was spent learning how to really enjoy life, even when it is somewhat disappointing.

It is not a new life lesson, it was just my first induction into it as an adult.

“The only thing you can control in this life is your attitude”; though even that can benefit from a jump start from time to time!

Extreme Cole Update

5 Oct

Sounds like a TV show, right?  Well most of you already know that we don’t have television in our home (the conventional channels, we only have dvd players and internet of course).  Even so somehow I am abreast of titles of TV shows; i.e. ‘Extreme Home Makeover’.  And when I read today’s posting title, that television show comes to mind (though I know nothing more of it than its name implies).  Why no television?  For the most part we have made that choice because life in itself is already an adventure filled with tragedy, comedy, and plenty of drama!  Allow me to serve up a healthy portion…

Cole is doing remarkably well!  In addition to having one-on-one physical therapy, three times per week, he has begun to work out in the wet and dry, adaptive kinesiology program at our local college, Saddleback.  He begins on Tuesday by getting in the pool at noon.  He works out for about an hour and then moves to the adaptive gym where they have all kinds of equipment for every possible physical disability.  He works out in the Saddleback gym on Friday afternoon’s as well.  Yesterday, he was swimming in the rain.  As he put it, “Yes, I was swimming.  Underwater, with goggles that actually work!”  He then gave me a look of accusation for not providing him adequate equipment here at home…he is quite expressive for a guy who has lost use of his facial muscles!!

During Cole’s first meeting at the gym he was introduced to a man named, Fermin.  Fermin had a stroke 8 years ago leaving him fully paralyzed on his right side, yet he now races in triathlons!  So Fermin took to Cole right away, seeing in him a drive (in all honesty, I would like to use the word ‘acceleration’ instead of drive.  It feels more accurate in describing Cole, but the English language confines me, currently, to the word ‘drive’–but keep in mind I am meaning it to reflect ‘forward motion’).  So Fermin showed Cole his recumbent bike, used for racing (and getting around); and offered to allow Cole a try at it around the running track there at the college.  Cole accepted the offer and we set a date for last Friday.  Brian came and our neighbor and good friend, Harry, met us.  Brian helped Cole into the bike and off he went…down the track, full speed ahead!  He hadn’t even gotten his helmet on (as Brian and I were quick to notice, while biting our nails).  Man-o-man, he raced that bike on that track like he had no disability whatsoever!  His Saddleback instructor, Pam, was also present and then invited Cole to tag along with her to a disability expo happening the next day.  Cole accepted the invitation and spent all day Saturday experiencing a new world of, “I can”.  He kayaked, climbed rocks, did pull-ups, met new people, and tried out different types of apparatuses.  He met a VA counselor there who asked Cole how long it had been since his surgery.  When Cole replied with, “six months”, the counselor said, “man, that’s it…if you are doing this well at 6 months, what is stopping me?!”  I said, “wow Cole, you counseled the counselor!”  He said, “oh yeah…”  When he returned home in the early evening he was wiped out.  But it wasn’t as he puts it, “neurological fatigue”.  In other words, he felt great and tired too!

Now backing up some, on that Friday at the college track Harry met us with a purpose.  You see, a few years ago Harry lost his legs to diabetes.  And when he received his prosthesis legs, he and his wife walked around the track.  At that time Fermin bestowed upon Harry a triathlon medal he had won.  The sentiment was that it would be a traveling medal, bestowed to a person the bearer of the medal feels exhibits characteristics of a hero.  So Fermin gave it to Harry and that day at the track Harry gave it to Cole.  It was very touching for us watching, and all of it has touched Cole deeply.

For the first time, post surgery, Cole is future focused.  Not that he didn’t see the future before, I mean he spoke of traveling (still does), but he “feels” the future.  For the first time he isn’t concerned about having disabilities.  He is going to overcome them…  Riding around the track gave him hope for driving a car again.  Meeting Fermin and people at the expo who are not letting their physical (or mental) challenges thwart their progress spoke volumes to him.    Being entrusted with a ‘hero’s medal’ from a man he admires, encourages his soul.  He is so on his way!

And then, yes there is more…the Orange County Register actually contacted me to do a story (based off of the letter in my previous post).  The reporter came yesterday and the story just might be in print by this coming weekend or next week (scary–you never know how one will interpret something).  Then on Sunday Cole had another set of MRI’s.  We picked up the report yesterday and all looks good; no changes.  YAY!!  Now with all of this news, you can understand better my title.

 

 

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