Thanksgiving was spent in Vermont this year celebrating with my brother and sister and (parts) of their families. Mommy and Daddy were in Flahhhrida as per their usual. (And yes. I am 40 and my Mother and Father will always be Mommy and Daddy whilst referring to them. Otherwise they are Ma! And Dad! in person. I’m Italian. It’s just the way it is.)
It’s a rarity that the Three Sibs are together- my brother, sister and I. It was nice. Very nice. I wish all of my nieces were there but alas, we’re a spread out bunch. One of my nieces ran her very first 5 mile turkey trot! She’s 13. I was beaming. Ear to ear. So proud. She’s a great little kid. Smart and beautiful. They all are. My brother and sister are amazing parents. It’s been incredible watching these little kids turn into loving, caring, compassionate, smart people. I am so proud of all of them. I always wondered how they would turn out…
Especially my nephew. He’s 23. He is in a wheel chair. A stroke he suffered in utero prevents him from using his legs the way they were meant. He can stand assisted. And walk with the use of a special walker but not well- not down the street. He is essentially confined to a one arm drive wheel chair. My sister is my hero. Her success measured in the wonderful children she has raised and the exceptional, loving-never-take-no-for-an-answer-care she has given my Nephew. So here I am last Thursday- one niece is running a 5 miler, one nephew is being wheeled into town on Thanksgiving. Opposite poles. It makes my heart break.
I decided to push my Nephew. We were all going on a silly post-thanksgiving-binge stroll together. I was happy that he could come with us. (As an aside: He thinks I’m nuts. I crack him up. Always have. Always will.)
-You sure you can push me Aunty Colby?
–Of course I can . I’m strong Buddy! Whaddya think I’m weak? (Light punch in the arm.)
– I can help you. (Furious wheeling with his one “good” arm, managing the triple ring perfectly.)
–That’s ok honey. I can push you. I’m tough. I run marathons Josh. You know how far a marathon is?
Light bulb. And then it occurs to me, as it has so many times over. He can’t run. He doesn’t know how far a marathon is. He’ll never experience the joy of a run. The escape. The bliss. The clarity. Standing is his marathon. Transferring himself from his wheel chair into the car is his Ironman. I would give him my legs if I could. Just as is now, tears roll down my cheeks. I start walking faster with him up the hill. My tears stop. I start running. Uphill. My Nephew and I. I am his legs.
-You don’t have to help Josh. I got it buddy.
–Ok Aunty Colby.
–So you think you’d want to run a 5K with me?
He would. I will. My goal this coming year is to run a nice flat, smooth 5K with him. It’s the closest I can come to giving him my legs. He needs to run. He will. I need to find a safe wheel chair for him that I can push- with hand brakes. I’m on it. It’s settled. We’re doing this.
-WINNER! WINNER! TURKEY DINNER JOSH! (Massive high five followed by a fist pump.)
–We beat them!
We sure did, Joshie. You just wait until our 5k Buddy. And then my heart overflowed…