A time for reflection, resolutions, and calcium supplements

September 4, 2008 by trooce · Leave a Comment 

And so, as we reach the zenith of another year, we pause to reflect on the year that was, of lessons learned, and the promise of a new year.  Such as it is with the close of another year, I come to the realization that in my life, time begets wisdom, experience begets patience, and perhaps most importantly, I am one step closer to needing soluble fiber supplements in my daily diet.  I wonder where I can get a bulk discount on Metamucil?

If at all else, I’ve learned that time creeps up on you.  For example, a few weeks ago, I hurt my leg and was walking with a noticeable limp.  This, in and of it self was not remarkable.  Rarely does a year in my life go by that I don’t cause significant injury to myself by doing something needlessly dangerous.  Try to fly off the roof with homemade “Bat-wings?”  Check.  Run and jump off a trampoline to dunk a basketball like Michael Jordan?  Check.  Try to leap over a four-foot hedge to impress my wife?  Check.

No, what set this injury apart from all the rest was that it occurred while I was walking around, looking around.  I didn’t trip.  I didn’t walk into a potted azalea.  I caused significant injury to my leg from the simple act of walking.

I believe that life has a purpose.  Every aspect of life is an opportunity to grow and learn.  Still, what practical purpose would an “age-inflicted” injury serve my life and those around me?  It took a while for me to discover the answer, and the meaning was revealed the moment someone asked me how I injured my leg.

It dawned on me that the answer I would give to that seemingly innocuous question would reveal the level of maturity I’ve attained over my life.  Would I own up to the fact that I had caused myself a nearly debilitating injury from the simple act of walking from my front door to the mailbox a half block away?  Or would I revel in my own state of denial by coming up with a more impressive and non-age related explanation?

In the end, I provided my questioner a very logical and reasonable explanation for my injury.  If I recall, the explanation included the presence of an oak tree, a beehive, a ladder and a rottweiler.

My own issues of denial notwithstanding, I did learn some things this year.

For several months now, my seven-year-old son has been writing ever more persuasive letters to Santa, beseeching him to get him an electronic toy called a “Roboraptor.”  This robot, which is basically a roboticized dinosaur that moves and makes monster sounds via a remote control, costs $120.00.

I mention the price of this toy primarily as a point of reference, for if I recall correctly, it was only a few years ago that this same son, when he was three years old, would have been perfectly happy if I had given him a box of bubble wrap for Christmas.

Still, my son isn’t normally a very materialistic person, and the years of bubble wrap for presents certainly served their purpose.  Besides, he had indeed earned a present with his grades and good behavior at school.  So, I figured, I’d splurge a little and Santa would have to lug around an extra “Roboraptor” for this year’s deliveries.

Christmas morning.  Excitement was in the air.  You could almost see “Roboraptor” straining against his box to escape and fulfill a boy’s wildest dreams.

When it came to his turn to open his presents, my son ripped open the package, and he immediately squealed with a shriek of delight.  “Roboraptor” was at last his, and he proceeded to act out all his prehistoric fantasies with his new robo pal in tow.

He played ecstatically with his new toy with joyous abandon and rapturous attention…for about 20 minutes.  He promptly spent the next half hour popping the bubble wrap that was packed around the “Roboraptor” box.

By my calculations, each minute my son played with “Roboraptor” cost me about six dollars.  As always, the bubble wrap was free.

Next year, he says, he wants a lava lamp.  I wonder what type of packing material they use for that?

A Promise to Keep – A Letter To My Daughter

August 31, 2008 by trooce · Leave a Comment 

To my beautiful girl,

It has taken me quite a while to bring myself to write you this letter.  I write this to you now in the hopes that many years from now, with a lot of hard work, patience, and no small measure of luck, this will be a faint reminder of the past.

It has been several months now since we first learned of your diagnosis.  Learning that your child has the telltale symptoms of autism has affected both your mother and I in different ways.

It has hit your mother the hardest.  I married your mother because of the way she lives her life.  She has a beautiful heart – simple, innocent and pure.  She’s worried about your future.  She’s worried about your future if and when we aren’t here to care for you.  She is sacrificing everything she has to provide for you.

While I support everything your mother is doing for you, because it will help – I see you walking down a different path.

From everything I have read about this condition, it is like each child has a door to open.  It’s a door to your consciousness, a door to your being.  It’s a door to you.

For whatever reason, God has made your door a little heavier – a little harder to unlock.  Yet with each passing day, your mother and I are pushing a little harder on the door, and some times you manage to peek your head part way through.  While it sometimes only lasts for a second, we see you struggling as hard to come out as we are trying to get in.  Yet for each of those moments, we can see that the potential and promise is worth every effort.

A few days ago you told us you wanted to watch Elmo.  Just the other day when mom asked you where her nose was, you showed her and pointed at her nose as if you had known for years.  You laughed and mom cried, yet you were both happy.

You are already a beautiful child.  I have no doubt in my mind that you will be a beautiful grownup.  I believe when all is said and done, you will surprise everyone – including me.

Regardless of what the future brings, as your Dad, I have signed on for the duration.  You should know that you will never go hungry, be without shelter, or be without love.  As long as I draw a breath and even beyond that, you will be cared for.

Let me be more specific.

When you start walking to school on your own, try not to mind the gray-haired fellow hiding behind every bush or sign behind you.  He just wants you to show him the way.

When you start to read and run into one of those hard words, come to me.  I probably won’t know it either but at least I’ll help you find the dictionary.

When you start to play soccer, softball, or make the cheerleading squad, try not to mind the gray-haired fellow jumping up and down in the stands.  He is your cheerleader.

If there is any time you can’t do something even when all your friends can, let me know.  You can do it.

These are some of the promises your mother and I have made.   I am sure we’ll make up some more along the way.

The door will open soon enough.  Good morning, sweetheart.  Wake up, come out and play.  It’s beautiful out here.