Sunday, April 21, 2013

When life seems beautiful again...

I am six years old, with a stuffed elephant toy balanced in my lap and a book in hand. Golden sunlight is leaking through the dust-streaked windows of my wooden clubhouse, and a gentle breeze is playing in the air, yet I am content being inside, where I can forget about cerebral palsy, forget about differences, forget about the world for a while.

Three years later, I am huddled with James on the school bus, my voice competing slightly with the groan of the engine. “You skipped thirteen again!” I remind him, and a smile crosses both of our faces. As a kindergartner, James needs to be able to count to twenty by the end of the year. Every day, unbeknownst to his teachers and parents, we practice until, instead of needing a reminder about the number thirteen, to the amazement of us both, James can count to one hundred. His laughter flits across the air as he exclaims, “Wow! I didn’t think I could do that!”

James doesn't notice the way I walk, doesn't notice that I stumble on the stairs of the bus. We don't even remember how we became friends; one day, we just decide to sit next to each other. It doesn't matter that he is six and I am nine, or that he is a boy and I am a girl. It doesn't matter that he plays with trucks and I play with stuffed animal toys. The differences don't matter at all. For fifteen minutes every afternoon, it is just the two of us together, and I wait with bated breath for thirteen to come after twelve.

Nine years after that, I am lying on the grass with my friends, ten feet away from the clubhouse I used to climb into when I wanted to forget about my worries. The afternoon sun warms our faces, and we just lie there without a care in the world, laughing about old memories that really aren't that old. 

Sometimes the differences seem all-encompassing. Sometimes I feel rooted to the spot because I'm afraid of what people will think of me once they see me walk. Sometimes life just seems to knock me down. But then I think about the summer days I spent in my clubhouse, about those afternoons on the school bus with James, about reminiscing with my friends on the grass. I just remember the six-year-old boy with a tendency to forget thirteen who befriended the nine-year-old girl with a limp, and the world seems beautiful again.

7 comments:

  1. Once again, your words slay me. I read this and think is this Boo is 15 years? Will she remember a perfect day and will it bring her joy or sadness? K, the world is beautiful because you are in it. I get, I think, that you may feel CP may limit you. And I am sure it does, in some/ most ways. But not the most, freaking most, important way. Your capacity to make us understand that you are more than CP and CP is more than you.
    It does not define you, but it does make you appreciate the beauty in the moment. In that moment boy saw you, as you would become a teacher.

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  2. This post is so beautiful, and so refreshing. Just what I needed to start off the morning. Thank you for sharing your beautiful words and making the world that much more beautiful!

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  3. Kerry, you are amazing. Goosebumps. AGAIN. Pretty much every time I read your writing. You, my friend, make the world more beautiful and full of wonder and magic. I'm glad you have such a great friend in James and a lovely clubhouse to hid in when you need it.
    <3
    In other news, we are LIVE, baby! http://www.findingninee.com/our-land-broken-people/

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  4. Beautiful...just beautiful. I thank you.

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  5. You're getting awesome comments and shares!
    :)

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  6. This is a great memory! Great to think about how awesome and loving kids can be. I love that you both helped each other.

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