Today was a bittersweet happy. My mother just returned home from the hospital after a month long stay. She cannot and does not speak much. She’s learning to walk again. She seemed so sad when I first arrived at her house. But she took one look at my son and she smiled. He said “hi” to his grandma, and she said “hi” back, one of the very few words we got from her today.
Later, the physical therapist arrived. He works mostly with stroke patients and is known for the amazing rehabilitation he performs. He also runs his business two doors down from our law office. As a favor to me, he came to my mother’s house to evaluate her.
He was full of energy and positivity. He motivated my mom. He got her to stand. His 6 foot 2 inch muscular frame held her tiny 4 foot 9 inch body up and told her she was dancing. With help to guide her and use of a walker, today she took many steps. He said she is strong. He will have her walking again. He smiled, “danced” and flirted with her. And she laughed and helped. She exercised on her own. With a smile.
All the while, my son waited patiently with my husband in his grandparents’ living room. He knew grandma was getting help. He knew she was home from the hospital. He was so well behaved. So good. Taking it all in, I think he knows of the tension in the air. For the two hours we were in the house, he asked to leave only once, and that was right at the end.
The laughter was good. It was real and signaled so much more than words. It signaled that my mom has a spark in her that despite all that’s happened she will fight back for happiness. This gives my father and me hope.
On our way out the door after therapy had ended, my little boy said goodbye and that he loved his grandma. She said “I love you too.” The other few words.
Once home, my little boy rode his bike which we saw he has outgrown since last summer. Riding back and forth across the driveway, he was alternating between control and falling over, even with training wheels. He needed guidance, as he rode, from his dad and me. We helped him across his path, while giving him room to grow stronger. He smiled and laughed.
Both my mom and my son have need for help right now in their different stages of life, each facing their own disabilities. They both share the need for speech and occupational therapy now. At either end of the path of life, I see how disabilities are not really different. How they affect the human spirit. Despite the struggles, there is laughter, love and strength.
And so here I sit in between the two, learning from both. To love each day. To find good and nourish it. To bestow reasons for laughter. To nurture, and simultaneously, to push those who need it to find their strength. To understand that in the end, you should live life to its fullest every day.
Life, no matter the disability, is a beautiful gift that should be spent with, at least, a sprinkle of happy every single day. Dance, no matter your ability. If nothing else, it will yield a simple laugh. A laugh that can keep the fire going within your soul.