Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Hole


Dear Son was ten years old when he attended his first daycare. I came to pick him up on this summer day, like I always do, just minutes before 6:00 o’clock, which was closing time. The daycare center was located in a strip mall near our home, however behind the strip mall, was a huge grassy area where they would take the children to play on sunny days like today. All of the kids would be running around, playing and having a ball. Dear Son had a wheelchair however, which they used to transport him to the grassy field. At that time, he could maintain a sitting position and walk on his knees. While he could not walk upright, he could be quite fast on his knees.

The sun was bright and the kids were yelling outside and having a good time. At one end of the grassy area were a few trees and a huge dirt hole. Dear Son liked to walk on his knees and sit in the dirt hole. The dirt hole or hole, as I liked to call it, was really just a large circle of dirt approximately 5 feet in circumference with a slight indention in the center. Every day, when it was nice, they would bring the kids outside, take Dear Son out of his wheelchair and he would head for the “hole”. When he arrived at the hole, he would sit on his knees in it. Sometimes, he would lick the dirt and if I saw it, I would have a heart attack and ask him why he was in the dirt. Other days, I would pick him up and he would have some mud on his face; evidence of the dirt pie he just ate. But he was happy. He would sit there in his aqua blue cotton shirt and the sun would hit his blue eyes and they looked as blue as the water at Bora, Bora. His eyes were beautiful against his skin which was slightly tan from the sun providing a beautiful contrast next to his nearly jet black hair. He would beam from ear to ear when he heard my voice and would spin around in the dirt to look at me and then race as fast as he could on his knees in the other direction, teasing me. I would come up to him and throw my arms around him, kiss his head and he would give me a big belly laugh. The women who owned the daycare center would apologize every day that he got dirty since his clothes always looked so nice. I told them that it’s o.k. that he gets dirty, because he’s having fun. I am not sure they believed me, but it was true. As for eating the dirt pies, no, now that I didn’t like.

This was the first time in his life that he got dirty playing. They didn’t know that of course, because they had never been around kids like Dear Son. When you can’t run or walk, there isn’t much opportunity to get your feet dirty or wear out the knees in your pants, so your clothes always look nice. The worse thing you could do was to run over a mud puddle in your wheelchair however that would not be of Dear Son’s doing because his hands did not work so there was no need for an electric wheelchair when a manual one would do. Because he has no use of his hands, it’s not like he could run cars over in the dirt and crash them, as other boys do. There’s also no baseball to throw, no dirty hands and no dirt on his pants from sliding into home base, like I used to do. So eating the dirt pie, is nothing more than doing what the other kids do, playing.

Fast forward four years to today. Dear Son can no longer sit, stand, walk on his knees or do much of anything else. He is bedridden and spends nearly all of his time lying down watching t.v. or will listen to music that I put on. I have to wonder though, if he remembers the dirt hole, the feel of the dirt on his knees, the taste of dirt in his mouth, the sound of the kids yelling. When adults get old, they remember the good times but what happens to kids when they are dying? What do they remember? The dirt holes? And for that, I am glad I let him get dirty. The dirt hole, that was the good old days.

9 comments:

Wrkinprogress said...

Thank you for letting me know Dear Son better.

Sending you big bear hugs across the miles,

WIP

neuroticillinifan said...

Thanks for sharing stories about your Dear Son. I can't begin to imagine how I would cope in similar circumstances. Your strength and courage is inspiring.

Cathy said...

Dear Son is beautiful! I also try imagining being in your place. I'm sure I couldn't do it near as well as you.

Fat Doctor said...

OK. I know I post comments on about 75% of your posts, and I fear you will consider me a stalker. But know this: I save your blog for the last one I check each day, because I like to take my time savoring it. Thanks for writing - I know you are busy, but I need it. Bet I'm not the only one.

Dream Mom said...

Thank you all for your comments. I am glad you enjoy these stories about Dear Son and find them inspiring. That means a lot.

BigMamaDoc-I always love comments on my posts and you can rest assured that I will not report your "stalking" activities to the blogger police. I am very flattered that you save me as the last post. {{blushing}}

mary said...

Dream mom, you gave your son the gift of risk, which is something lots of kids with complex needs never get to experience. You let him get down and play in the dirt, and it doesn't matter for how long or short a time he got to do that~~~he did get to do that!

Great blog, I'm adding you to my links!

difficult patient said...

I'm so glad I found your blog--you are truly inspiring. ((hugs)) Thank you for sharing . . .

Anonymous said...

I am a mom & cannot imagine your life. Your blog makes me want to go right home & hug my angels.

Re the dirt in the hole - I don't know your son's diagnosis. Could he possibly enjoy the 'smell' of a clump of dirt from the hole?

V

Impatient Patient said...

Oh I am so sad and sorry- and I wish I could make you feel better. This is the first post I have read here and I just want to tell you it was beautiful. Thank you and I am in awe of your love and courage.

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