Remember when you first learned how to swim? Most of us walked into the shallow end and gradually made our way into deeper waters. This works just fine when we are learning how to swim but I have found in life that taking the deeper end is better. One of my favorite bands, Two Door Cinema Club, has a song called Beacon. A line from that song resonated with me and it has stuck ever since I first heard it:
Take the deep end, swim till you can’t stand
cuz it will make a difference in the end.
After finding out that my two sons have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, I made a decision to help them grow up as normal as possible. I kept them in school until 10th and 11th grade and they went to regular class. Unfortunately, I had to withdraw them from school for health reasons and help them earn their G.E.D.s. They participated in field trips, had friends over to play, went swimming and even rode horses. They did homework, played clarinets in band and were like any other teenager despite their physical limitations. It may have been easier to throw my hands into the air and put them into special education, but I knew that would not be the best in the long run.
I still run into situations almost everyday when I have to remind myself to take the deep end. There are many evenings when I do not feel like cooking but I know that giving them convenient junk will only accelerate their disease. I was not the “cool” mom who let her kids drink soda and eat tons of sugar. I knew early on that it would only make their futures worse. Yesterday morning, I did not want to clean my house. I did it anyway because doing just one thing can make the world a better place – whether it’s something big like helping a disabled child through school or something small like picking an object off of the floor for someone. I was floored when my youngest son, Andrew, told me that he would drop a pencil onto the floor only for another kid to just look at it and walk away. We need to teach each other to help and to care. We need to take the deep end because it will make a difference in the end.
Fall is my favorite time of the year. My oldest son loves summer because he hurts less when he is warm. My husband loves warmer weather so he can take his sports car or motorcycle out. When I was young I enjoyed summer because I didn’t have to go to school, I could go swimming and stay up late.
As I became older, I started to notice things about autumn that I enjoyed. I noticed how the sun would shine into the room at a slant and how the sky seemed bluer. When the sun rises, the leaves look like gold as they flutter in the morning breeze. The sound of leaves rolling down the sidewalk or rustling in the trees gives me a sense of peace. I know they will soon fall and the trees will once again be naked, so I enjoy them while they hang on.
I started to compose a poem in my head while I was helping my son earlier:
Leaves blowing in the autumn breeze
as the curtains gently dance.
Sunshine in my kitchen
gives life to figurines on the sill.
The peace mimics a trance
and my soul feels at ease.
Soon, the typical Montana winter will arrive. Until then, I will keep the windows open when I can and enjoy the beautiful colors. The leaves turn beautiful to reassure us that they will be back in the spring. The starlings gather and dance in the sky to entertain us before they return next year. I have even heard some house finches squeezing in a little more singing and a sparrow courting a female one last time. I will keep feeding them all winter as I look forward to new life in the spring.
When my oldest son, Christian, was in grade school, we went to my mother’s house for a visit. Mom kept her old records down in the basement for years and Christian discovered them. He asked me if they were giant CD’s. We had a good laugh. We explained to him about record players and how they work. I think most of it went in one ear and out the other. Those of us who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s probably owned a record player and a few records too. I still have a couple of my childhood favorites: Sesame Street Christmas and a Walt Disney record. I played them countless times and knew every single word. I was fortunate to be able to listen to most of my parent’s records also. A favorite of mine was Crocodile Rock by Elton John. I also enjoyed listening to my dad’s CCR record. To this day, I know every word of Crocodile Rock. The coolest record was a red record by Elvis Presley. I think it was the soundtrack to the movie Girl Happy. Neil Sedaka was another of my favorites. Like many of you, I have cherished music throughout my life and I am excited to write more blog posts about it.
I am thankful that Christian also enjoys music even though some of it sounds like “jungle music”. I have kept an open mind and put some of his songs on my iPod – like music by Wiz Khalifa, Flo Rida, Mike Posner and other songs I would have never heard of if it wasn’t for him. Music is a way for all of us to connect, even if we are generations apart. What kind of music did you enjoy when you were young?