Brother Bear lives for sports; eats, sleeps and breathes basketball. The amazing amount of work and effort he put into making the freshman high school team forces me to look at my own fitness journey, and wonder at his committment in awe. Already, he is working hard towards developing needed skills for a second attempt next year, for a chance at a spot on the even more difficult sophmore team. His tenacity and committment bring tears of pride to my heart.
Brother Bear fought hard to get here - harder than most realize. The head injury that turned his life upside down and inside out just two years ago inserts itself into his life in insidious ways, but he just keeps getting back up. Read this, write that, memorize this - all taks we've encountered in our own school journeys, but not through the hazy fog that continues to mire cognitive processes like so much pea soup. He never complains, just works harder, longer, quietly for things that once came easily, yet still emerge with a depth of brilliance and understanding. Slower does not equate to less smart. How I wish his teachers could truly grasp that concept. This kid is amazing, and not so much a kid but a young man becoming. Surpassing. Persevering.
He currently plays in a prep development league. Part of his plan to continue developing skills and pursue his passion. Games run every Monday night, right alongside my work with clients, so I've missed nearly every game. I love to watch him play, and worry less when I'm alongside his team. It's silly, I know. I just dread the call, the words. I hit my head again tonight. Which he did - last night. Heart stopping. That's not a phrase - it's a condition, a reaction, a moment of pure fear that immobilzes one's chest as it did mine. I hit my head again. Again.
Breathe. In. Out. Count to five, and breathe again. Listen.
He's okay, I tell myself. They have trainers, assess for concussion these days; pull kids from play until there's no question. He's okay because he believes that to be true. Because he makes it so. Because he's tenacious and accepts no other reality. He has goals, and intends to reach them; to see his vision take shape. My job is simply to trust; act as if, and to be there. Always ready wtih support.
We had a date last night. A date to work on math, which we did. I saw it, heard it - the struggle, the hurculean effort. 2 + 2 = 5, right? No wait, it's not. I got this. We waded through the hall of mirrors, the distorted images and twisting tunnels and tackled pythagorean triples, pythagorean theorem and its converse, geometrical proofs, parallelograms, triangles, area...
Homework often takes double time, even triple. Brother Bear never rests on his laurels. He works hard, and at times still comes up short. His brain heals slowly, and he refuses to cut corners or make it the central thing in his life. He is a teenager, basketball player, himself first - all the rest can get in line. Head injuries, post concussive syndrome? That stuff can sit on the sideline and wait; he gives it its due attention. And, he quickly moves on - to the next bigger, better, more important thing in his life.
Me? I sit back and remind myself. Sometimes, even momentarily, 2 + 2 really does equal 5. Just for the moment it takes to show us the miracle of being. Of persevering. Of quietly rising to the challenge and moving far beyond - not for the recognition of overcoming obstacles, but for the beauty and gift of knowing, intenally, I gave it my everything. Which he did, and always does.