I have another quotable quote from a child to add to my list along with,
“Aunty Ning, what’s that thing on your neck?” Mom: “You mean that pretty necklace?” “No, that other thing…the boo boo.”
and “Pie-yette! [Pirate!]”
When we went to visit Ernie and Ruth last week I was on the driveway with Ezra and Karine. Ezzie was wearing his Lightning McQueen Helmet (Ruthie and I made him wear it) and sitting on his plasma car. Karine was obligingly weighing down the stroller I was pushing. Ezra used a pause in the conversation to ask the question that has been brewing in his mind for two years:
“Aunty Ning Ning…Why do you walk so S-L-O-W?”
Bah ha ha ha ha!! I thought it was so funny! But then I considered that he doesn’t remember me before I got sick and he’s kind of just “gone with it” as he’s seen me progress from the wheelchair, to the walker, to the cane. But now that his language skills have advanced he was ready to seek information about why I’m different.
“Oh, honey, it’s because my brain got hurt. That’s why I don’t walk very well,” I explained, and he said Oh, understandingly and left it at that.
But Karine piped up from the stroller in front of me and said, “But Aunty Ning Ning, you DO walk well.”
Wasn’t that sweet and encouraging? That’s something she’s good at. In fact, all of my children are good at that. Spending the summer with Hannah and Josh gave me ample opportunity to be encouraged by their growth as compassionate individuals. I get to see Ezzie and Karine more often, and Karine is always holding my hand and cheering me on, while Ezra has done everything from giving me a hug when I’m sad to providing live entertainment before dinner (singing “As the Deer”). Peter encourages me just by being born.
While I was an inpatient we’d occasionally Skype with the family. One week E&R went to visit Ai Ai and Tim and so I got to Skype with the three eldest kids. Even with my googly eyes I noticed the giant green bow on Karine’s head. She wore it one time when she was visiting us once I came home, and I said, “I love her bow, Ruth.”
Ruthie just replied, “We’re going big, Ning. We’re going big.”
That philosophy of bow-wearing makes me laugh. It’s like wearing big jewelry – sometimes you need to go with a statement piece rather than the more unobtrusive items. At least this was an old mood-boosting strategy of mine. And I KNOW I’m not the only girl out there who does this. C’mon, ladies – you know who you are.
My baby’s (big girl’s) encouragement is like accessorizing with a statement piece – she offers it with the intention that it’s meant to be noticed – a clear assertion that she has observed my progress and wishes to applaud it (and hope for more).
A long time ago when she saw me sitting for the first time via Skype she said, “That’s good sitting, Aunty Ning Ning.”
Now she’s commenting on my gait. In her mind the small stuff is worth noticing. In my world I used to discard positive feedback on my physical progress since I was still in my old able-bodied mindset of “of course I should be able to do all these things.” But things are different now. Minor tasks like cutting my nails or stuffing an envelope are annoyingly large challenges. But when I’m able to do them I want to celebrate, and I’m so glad to find willing family members who are ever-ready to party with me. We’re going big.
PS. Ed is hosting a disco dance party on Thursday night, 9pm at Ernie and Ruth’s. I am pre-announcing this gathering as one of you (ahem) commented last time on FB that you “need more notice!” Light hors d’oeuvres will be served as well as sweet finger foods. As always, kindly inform of any food allergies prior to the event. Ruthie, I need you to do that s’mores bar thing you do. Ernie, I need you to practice your best moves.