This commercial got my attention. Watch the little boy at the 20 second mark very closely…
Amazing, isn’t he? I’d seen that commercial four or five times before I noticed his remarkable ability. Later on we were watching the swimming and gymnastics and there were a few fifteen-year-old kids competing, and winning in London. I did the math and told Jeni that Jackson had a lot of work to do to be on Team USA for 2020. I asked Jackson, “Do you want to swim a few hours a day for the next eight years and see if you can make the Olympics?” I didn’t know what to say to Caedmon.
He’s the biggest TEAM USA fan, other than a parent, I’ve come across. We’ve watched water polo, women’s field hockey, indoor and outdoor volleyball, archery, lots of swimming, gymnastics, soccer, and a brief glimpse of shooting. He even opted out of a trip to the pool to watch the Americans compete.
As I fought against his ever tightening tendons and hyper sensitive leg muscles to get him in his pajamas tonight, my mind went back to the boy in the commercial. I decided it would be far better to lose a limb that have Cerebral Palsy. That little boy could find a way because the rest of his body works just fine. Caedmon’s disobedient, frail body is why I didn’t have a “you can do it!” speech for him to match Jackson’s. Tonight, I was mad at Cerebral Palsy.
Would it be salt on a wound to tell him he could make the 2020 games? While I know the odds are overwhelmingly against any of my boys donning Olympic gold, I wouldn’t discourage them from dreaming. But it’s different with Caedmon, at least I think it is. It’s not as simply as flicking the glove from his weakened arm so his strong one can make the throw. Even the Armless Archer has the benefit of an able torso and extremely high dexterity in his legs. Caedmon’s got fantastic enthusiasm, an unbreakable spirit, and infectious joy but his body simply doesn’t work like the guys and girls he’s cheering in London. I don’t know what to do.
Do I offer false hope? Do I take his fragile dreams, assuming he has those dreams, and drop them on the marble floor of reality? Should I push his brothers to be champions so Caedmon has someone he dearly loves to root for? Do I keep encouraging him to be an active spectator? Am I too pessimistic for thinking he won’t be like the boy in the commercial? Should it even matter?
Maybe it shouldn’t matter, but Caedmon loves sports. He yearns for the pageantry – marching bands, national anthems, roaring crowds, and proud
parents. He relishes victory and mourns defeat. Rivals make the games all the more enjoyable for him. He’s abandoned my Braves for his aunt’s Cubs; forgot my Falcons for his grandpa’s Steelers before betraying Pittsburgh for his uncle’s Packers. His favorites are when his team is battling mine or his Pa-G’s. Thankfully, everyone he knows roots for the ‘Noles, otherwise there might be a little boy sleeping in the garage. Perhaps vicarious participation is more than enough for him, but he’s got to wonder, doesn’t he? Should I ask him? I don’t know what to do.
Sorry for having no answers in this post. I apologize for offering no inspiration or encouragement. But I’m at a loss with this one, and have been for some time. I don’t want any of my boys to be happy; I want them to be fulfilled from doing what they’re made to do. At the same time, I want them never afraid to take off for the second star to the right and straight on till morning. I don’t know what to do.