April 2018

Friday, March 19, 2010

DAR #10: "I Believe the Children are the Future"

DAR#10: This morning I awoke with Whitney Houston singing "I believe the children are the future" in my head. I have awakened to pop music snippets as long as I can remember. I had hoped brain surgery might cure me of this, but instead I think the music has just gotten worse. Like "I believe the children are the future." While I appreciate the sentiment, I have always hated these lyrics. Isn't that kind of like singing, "I believe basketballs are round"? I mean, they just are. No belief, is seems to me, is required.

Anyway, the song got me thinking about the ways that children responded to my eye patch when I was wearing it. Kids aged 3-5 or so were the most fun. Once, soon after going home from surgery, we went to Children's Hospital to visit some friends and their child. Their young child had undergone several heart surgeries. She looked great and continues to thrive. Her mother was telling us how many people came through Children's to entertain the young patients: singers with guitars, puppeteers, people with puppies, and so on. As we were leaving, Ann pushed me in my wheelchair down the hall and a boy about seven years-old came out of a nearby room, non-chalantly raised his hand in greeting and said, "Hi Pirate" as if he was not at all surprised to see a pirate in this hospital.

Another time, when I was waiting in the emergency room, a girl of about three came bravely over to ask me if I was a pirate. "Yes," I said, "I am a pirate. What are you?" Without hesitating, she said, "I'm a cat." And to this I wisely responded, "I thought so. That must be why you painted your fingernails." She simply nodded seriously and raised her hand to show the nails as proof to both of us. Many kids this age asked me this question. Those who were most excited were the ones who were going to get to ride on a plane with a pirate. All of them could answer without thinking what they were: a rocket, a bear, a little boy (as if to say, duh.)

My youngest niece Gretchen, however, had not yet reached the age of pirate fascination. As soon as she saw me in my patch, she screamed and wailed and went into a spasm of dry heaves (I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we were all glad that they were dry.) The next summer, when her mom asked her if she was sad that Auntie Mary wasn't wearing a patch, she responded emphatically, "No, I am not sad that Auntie Mary is not wearing a patch." That is one of my favorite sentences.

Finally, teenagers were generally compassionate but could be funny, too. The year after surgery, I completed an administrative internship in a school on the campus where I had worked for several years. The campus has a reputation as a tough place and there are indeed real issues associated with poverty and displacement (lots of immigrants and refugees), but I have always felt safe there.

As I left the building (using my walker and wearing my patch) late one afternoon, a group of boys was beating a trashcan to death. (Teenage boys sometimes do things like this.) From about 15 yards away, I hollered out to them to stop. They paused, glanced my way and continued. I moved toward them and told them they should move on. Again they paused to look at me. Their apparent leader said, "Run! Look what happened in her last fight!" They ran and I laughed.
Kudos to brother Matt for the first acceptance speech, and so gracefully done. A little background may help you: My sister Jenn had brain surgery two years before me as a result of an accident. We were afraid she might not live, and my brother, as an act of love, slammed down his toilet seat and broke it. (I think this remains my sister's favorite story about him--or maybe about anyone.) As you can see, she is alive and funny. What you can't see is that she has some unresolved physical issues: she cannot put a flipflop on her left foot without using her hand and she cannot raise her right eyebrow. For that, she is going to physical therapy, but I don't think she has a caringbridge site yet.

For those of you trying to rain on my milkshake parade, yesterday I courageously tested your theories about lactose intollerance. For breakfast I had cream cheese on my banana nut bread. At lunch I had yogurt and a glass of milk with my scrambled eggs and banana, and after dinner I had maple walnut ice-cream from Molly Moons. I slept like a baby...better, really, for those of you who've had babies.

So happy milkshakes to all you pirates out there who can eat them :) mary

btw Dad travelled to Seattle to get your IRA statement. Brother Matt

Okay, how many people clicked on Matt's website? Mary D.

You still continue to keep me in stitches! I even forwarded today's blog to my Dad, as he is an ECU Pirate fan. Thought he, too, might get a kick out of it. Every time I think of you, I see the same image in my head. You on the basketball court, taking aim and shooting. Apparently your form was quite memorable. Love, Kathryn

1 comment:

  1. So Mary, this is how much I liked reading your blogs... (first you should know that i've been out of touch, sorry, but Heather pointed me in your direction, thank you Heather).
    I am in Italy. It's after dinner and I've had half a bottle of chianti. I'm reading your blogs. My daughter, Jordan, 18, pops me a chat message that appears out of nowhere: "mommy, call me" I ignore it because I'm reading your blog. Then Paul and Ella (my other daughter) come in and say, "May, let's go get some ice cream." Have you ever had ice cream in Italy? It's like an entirely different food group than ice cream at home. I love it and will walk way out of the way for a scoop, but they walk in and offer ice cream and I ignore them because I'm reading your blog. So, that's how much I enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing so much. I look forward to many future postings. Love,


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