My joyful response in my heart, when my nine year old son saw the newspaper notice for The Frozen Goose Run, a triple event including a run, cross country snow shoe , and cross country ski. I was on the phone speaking to the avid cross country nurse setting up a team. I volunteered to do both, but my recently taught snow shoer interrupted my conversation with, "I can do that!" in his 'glad to be me' spirit. I cautiously responded to the young nurse, "We'll do it. Just to be clear, my son is nine years old.
The day of the race; windchill -42, snow and high winds blowing across Willow Creek Golf course. I expected the race to be called off. Not. My son was the youngest participant (The entry form, 12-year-old and up, but 19 was the closest to him in competition). Many people pulled out and never finished. After my start off run, he was second in the relay with the starting gate on the other side of the club house. I couldn't see him. Conditions had worsened on my run. I took off on the course searching. Snow shoers were loosing their way due to low visibility. When, to my emotional relief, I spied him, and tried to convince him that he could quit. He refused saying that I can, because I do it all the time, Mom. (How much time for a nine year old?) We had prepared - but, but, but -42 degrees Fahrenheit. We all finished, and the race personnel wished that they had had a reward for him. The spirit of the day was enough! Glad and happy.
He has 'done' ever since! (Navy, Special Forces right out of high school.)
My children in the psych unit see two faces of themselves. The past and the future like Janus, the Greek God. At first first many see themselves as angry undeserving beings. Their souls lost. But I resolved that they would gradually see the "glad to be me" spirit in their sad faces, not orphan souls. I'm labeling. In medicine labels are well intended, even needed, building blocks to reach diagnoses. Granted, if overused they may become stumbling blocks consuming time labeling that could be spent on the cure. I resolved to temper the labeling habit.
My perseverance was warmly recognized in the cold month of Minnesota winter. Two nurses and one teacher stopped by my classroom to say, "You are a miracle worker." Ariel's transformation from an out-of-control 12-year-old autistic-like baby into a functional autistic-like young girl amazed and surprised many. I had been too immersed in the challenge to notice that others recognized my efforts. My spirit had been replenished. Ariel's glad spirit because she understood, "You can because you/we do! Warm all over.
I'm thankful to be me.
Kaye is a teacher and author of multiple works including Valerie Valentine Visits Vincent Vampire