on friday nite, i had the great pleasure of riding shotgun in a vehicle carrying a dignitary. graham and i had the honor of chauffeuring obama to a hallowe'en bowling party.
it was a most unusual occurrence
unusual in that it was such a normal thing to do...and that sense of normalcy is such a foreign concept in our home.
parker got sick in september 2009. he was just starting grade 5. he was 9.
he is now in grade 7 and will be 12 in a month.
a whole lot of huge changes take place between the ages of 9 to 12. in many ways, he was a little boy when he got sick... and now he's on the precipice of adolescence. the majority of this metamorphosis from boy to nearly teen has occurred shut away from everything that encompasses those years...
school. sports teams. sleep overs. socializing. first crushes. running. jumping. carefree adventures. uninhibited movement. boundless energy. naivety.
our dog, harrison, has a FB page.
he is a very socially and intellectually advanced dog. he also happens to be friends on FB with a lot of parker's friends. i am not FB friends with parker's friends. a couple of months ago, harrison was updating his FB status. i was nearby, because i was monitoring harrison's underage use of the internet, so i couldn't help but notice all the proverbial tweeny "tweeny-ness" happening on his FB newsfeed.
there on FB was all the regular, normal silliness that accompanies that pre-adolescent stage of life. lots of talk about who likes who, student council, teachers (only nice things), crushes, farting, belching, birthday parties, events, and more about crushes and lots of emoticons with rolling eyes...etc. etc. etc.
it kinda crushed me. all that normal growing up stuff is so far from the reality of parker's world. was part of me secretly relieved he's somewhat removed from some of that social jockeying for position, the awkwardness of this age, the growing pains, the pressure to conform, and the heartbreak of unrequited crushes? yes! the other part of me was really grieved. he's missing out on some really critical years of social development. on the flip side, he is well beyond his years. he is learning life lessons that will build into him the traits with which a strong foundation of character are forged. he is developing strength, fortitude, endurance, perseverance, compassion, empathy, mental toughness...but these lessons come at great cost and he is also missing out on some pretty basic childhood experiences... and that is hard. and that hurts. and that is sad. does identifying and acknowledging both sides of the coin, both the pros and cons help? yes...it allows me to process the grief but it doesn't make the grief any less intense.
note to self: allowing your dog access to the internet can be hazardous to your mental health. time to get the dog a new hobby.
this past week, there has been a significant decrease in parker's symptoms. he still has periods throughout the day, when his pain and cognitive dysfunction are very disabling but his evenings have been better. he has a list of many "want to do's". one of the activities on that list of "want to do's" has been to go to our church youth group. he was 'eligible' to start attending last fall.
it was with utter delight that he was finally able to go on friday nite. it is really one of his very first tween experiences
it was a most unusual occurrence for us to have him be a part of something that is so normal. it felt totally surreal. all of it.
dropping him off. surreal.
letting him go. surreal.
having 2 hours to ourselves! surreal. (at 19, taylor has his 'own' life and my folks had avery)
having a DATE nite! magical. (we celebrated my bday, graham's bday and our anniversary)
me being well enough to go out? will wonders ever cease?
picking parker up. once again, totally surreal.
upon our return to the bowling venue, we entered into that loud, silly, mysterious world of tweens. the bowling alley was brimming with probably 75+ grade 6 & 7
it was like stepping into a foreign land...and in the midst of it, there stood obama. it was a most unusual occurrence.
surreal. wonderful. delightful. joyful.
ps i would have loved to have a photo of obama AT said event - however he sternly advised us that the mama & papa-razzi were not welcome to photograph him at said event.