Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Lesson in Independence

English: Torker Unicycle taken by Andrew Dressel
My youngest son broke his leg this summer.  I quickly dove into a low level panic.  What would he do for three weeks, unable to unicycle, run, do gymnastics or enter his tennis camp?  What would/could I do to keep this very active, wonder boy couch bound?  I flashed on his extreme and sometimes upsetting behavior before I figured out that he just desperately needed physical activity in his life to find emotional balance. It turned out that I worried too much.  The cast came off yesterday and he weathered the sedentary lifestyle for three weeks just fine.  All of us, even his brother, walk away from these past weeks unscathed.  He in fact, did not completely lose it and start hurling verbal and physical bombs nor did he start going negative on himself.

English: Using underarm crutches. Español: Cam...
What he did do was insist that he do everything for himself the entire time he was on crutches.  Thirsty? He grabs a glass of water, sucks it up to his face and "carries" it hands free while he maneuvers the crutches around the dog and floor rug obstacles.  Hungry? He decides to slide his bum across the house and make a sandwich, doing pull ups to the counter and then balancing on one leg, practicing a complex yoga move. He carries it back to the couch in one hand while he hops on one foot to his spot in the living room.  I got so frustrated with him.  "Let me help you!!! Are you trying to break the other leg?"  He of course would just smile and reassure me, "I can do this."

He figured out that what he likes just as much as being physical is a challenge.  He likes to try new things and test himself.  He also likes to be self-reliant.  A unicycle is fun and unique.  But balancing a plate in your mouth while hopping and dodging a darting dog - that's a really noteworthy effort!  His cast is off and he still has to use the crutches for a while longer.  The past three weeks have been a great lesson for me.  My son wants to be strong and independent.  I'll still try to take care of him and help him (especially when he's carrying plates in his mouth) but I never want to be the one crippling him in any way.  He wouldn't let me even if I tried.
Enhanced by Zemanta

1 comment:

  1. good for him! that is such an admirable quality in a person. my daughter broke her leg a few years ago - she had a cast from her toes to her crotch. i remember trying to tuck her into bed that night, with this huge, hard, scratchy neon green monstrosity attached to her. i thought, "how in the world is she going to endure this!?" She also needs to be active in order to think and feel balanced. I guess you use a lot of energy scooting, hopping and crawling around the house with various dishes held in your mouth! glad your son has the cast off and the ordeal is mostly over. happy rehab!