125. “Pirate!” (Try again.)

This was when I wasn't even a pirate - I closed both eyes as often as I could.

This was when I wasn’t even a pirate – I closed both eyes as often as I could.

I was doing a maze on the rotator at VT this week – minding my own beeswax like a good girl – when a little preschool-aged patient ran away (literally) from his activity, leaned against my knee, looked at the rotator with fascination, then at my face (wearing a patch over one eye) and told the room, “Pie-yette [Pirate].”

I couldn’t help it – I burst out laughing. I mean, who else would have the guilelessness to call another patient a “pirate”? It’s funny bc it’s how I often think of myself when I’m patched, and I refer to home VT exercises as “Pirate Time.” But coming from the lips of a child (and fellow-patient) it was hysterically funny.

This particular little kid was wearing some kind of neurological headgear (pretty subtle, actually, not like a helmet or anything). Judging from the way he was bouncing around the room his mobility is fantastic, but I thought he might be working through some speech issues in addition to having to go to VT. It made me think of another exceedingly handsome little fellow I see on Sundays. He’s working through some speech things, too, and he was trying to tell his mom something after the meeting was over last weekend. He couldn’t quite get it out, though, so his mom took a few guesses (emphatically negative by her son) and then told him, “Okay, try again.” Write that phrase down, people. Along with “the research shows,” I feel like this is a good phrase to keep in your back pocket. Delivery is important with this one, though. The way my friend (the mom) said it was full of patience and encouragement. The implication (to me, at least) was that the boy will not just have to get by on good looks for the rest of his life – he’s got someone (actually, lots of folks, beginning with his parents) to wait for him to “try again” so he can make his needs/wants understood.

Seeing little kids dealing with challenges is one of the saddest parts of living in RecoveryLand. Every time I see a tiny wheelchair at the hospital I want to cry. But I often see these chairs occupied, too, and the kids are usually chattering away, talking to their friends/therapists/caregivers, oblivious (for that moment) that they are in a tough spot.

Kids like the one who called me “Pirate” make my day. Their parents (all parents – of kids healthy or not quite) might cringe and feel bad that their child infringed on a patient’s privacy or personal space. But I’m just so pleased to be noticed by a child like M (the “Pirate” kid) or any other child, for that matter. To me, it means that they think I’m “safe,” that even though parts of me are different, they aren’t scared to talk to me, ask me questions, or say that I look like a pirate. That kind of acknowledgement is worth a LOT to me – it makes me want to let these kids “try again” as often as they need to. After all, I need that kind of grace, too.

P.S. I finally noticed that the sharing buttons below each post let me see how many of you are sharing. Thank you so much for spreading my video from yesterday and “Don’t You Care?” around. Apparently you all have lots if friends – thanks again!

P.P.S. What’s that thing on your neck? 🙂

15 thoughts on “125. “Pirate!” (Try again.)

  1. Guilelessness is a perfect word for little ones like that. I love it.

    And yes, “try again” should be our life mantra through anything frustrating that makes us want to give up! Thanks for this daily dose of good perspective. Praying that God continues to give you the “gumption” (another G word I love 🙂 ) and encouragement to try again.

  2. Thanks, Ning. Children are such a gift in the perspective they give us. Great reminder, too, to be patient and encouraging to my own children and to others in general. Love you!

  3. There is a Michael Card song (name of which I don’t for the life of me remember!) that has the most wonderful line in it “He hands us each new moment saying, ‘My child begin again’.” 😉

  4. Ning, I have been catching up with your life and have been so blessed by your honesty, beauty of words and outlook on life. Praying for you to continue shining brightly!

    • Hi, Amy! Thanks for checking in and FYI your kids are so grown up!! And the pic of M-is it M? Doing the Crane on the beach is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. And I’ve seen some funny things:)

  5. Two great stories! Aren’t children a real gift from God!? They bring so much encouragement and sweetness into all our lives.

    • I had to go look at my post to remember what the 2nd story was. And you’re right, H, children are a special gift from the Lord, and you have 3!!

  6. Children are beautiful and despite their “obliviousness” are master teachers of what really matters in life. I love your heart of wisdom, Ning. You “see” what’s unseen by most. 🙂

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