Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sometimes I hurt when He "can't"

Today the boys were riding the tricycles that Aunt Dana got them for their 2nd birthday last year. Adam has been able to coordinate the pedaling for some time now and until recently Andrew hardly showed any interest in it. Now he's decided he wants to ride the tricylce too and the past few weeks he's been getting on and off and attempting to push it into motion.

Today it just about broke my heart because he seemed to come to a realization that he "can't" do it. Not because he's too young, or too short, or isn't trying hard enough. He just physically can't coordinate the muscles and gather the strength to push the pedals forward and keep his feet on the pedals. That's not to say that he won't be able to in his own time (perhaps even tomorrow because he always surprises) but as of today he just plain "can't".

"Can't" isn't a word I really care for because it's usually used in the context of "I'm too lazy" "I'm not patient enough" "I don't want to" "I'm not willing to try hard enough". But in all sincerity I've never seen someone try so hard to do something and he just was not physically able to do it, "can't" took on a new more appropriate meaning today for someone I dearly love and it was painful.

To make matters worse, his brother, without intending to be mean, was riding laps around him at a super fast speed around and around and around while Andrew was stuck there in once place.

I attempted to help Andrew get started but he couldn't keep his feet on the pedals and he is a two year old that wants to do it "by by self" so he wouldn't let me keep helping him.

At one point when the realization hit Andrew that it wasn't going to happen, he cried out in physical agony over his situation. Ouch, I felt it deep inside as if it were me.

You might disagree or think this moment was rather insignificant but looking back I really think it's okay for him to be sad/frustrated/whatever over his limitation. So long as he doesn't wallow in self pity and he does not.

We encouraged him to keep trying and told him "You'll get there, Keep trying, Way to go!" but that didn't really seem appropriate because in fact he wasn't giving up and he did keep trying and he never once uttered the word "can't". In fact he refused to get off the trike when I called them in for dinner, unwilling to give up until he'd triumphed. But no matter how hard he tries, there will certainly be days where he just flat out "can't" and at the risk of sounding ungrateful, it really does make me ache for him.

Yes, we and he are SO fortunate, Yes we try to focus on what he "can" do, Yes he "can" do quite a lot, Yes we know he is doing more than anyone ever predicted, Yes it could be SO much worse, Yes so many other parents would love for their children to be able to do half the things Andrew is able to do.

But none of those things change the fact that his little heart and mine hurt today in that moment. And I think that's okay to say outloud. It's okay because it's his story.

Sometimes triumph is not in the "can" but the "try". And frustration, dissapointment, or sadness just makes us real and I think it would be unfair to not allow Andrew to grieve his losses so long as it doesn't become a "crutch" for him and I don't see him taking that attitude.

Andrew, even when you "can't" you always "do" make us proud!


Lynn said...

I would say you're ALWAYS going to hurt when there are things that he can't do. How could you not? You sound like you think you need to apologize for this. You're his mother! You're going to hurt when he hurts! But it sure sounds like you're doing everything right continuing to encourage him. Give that little man a hug from me, will you? And Adam, too!
Oh, and it has nothing to do with being grateful or ungrateful...
Continuing to pray!
Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
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Larry and Heidi said...

Wow I remember those days all too well. They just break a momma's heart.

Rachel said...

Well, that made me cry. Andrew's story is amazing and yet I know it hurts in moments like that. I know it's not the same, but after we got Samuel his muscles were so underdeveloped and he could not ride his tricycle either. It took a long time for him to finally be able to do it! Andrew's determination and perseverance are awesome! He is such an amazing kid!

B and E's Mommy said...

My heart breaks for both of you. That has got to be a very tough situation and I admire your strength. It is such a difficult age to try and teach our babies why they can or can't do certain things because of "limitations." You are in my thoughts! xoxo

Its Me! said...

Thanks for sharing, Lindsey. Andrew is an amazing kiddo and I think you're right on. He's so blessed to have you as wonderful parents!

Hannah D A said...

What a great mom you are! I'm so proud of you for the way you love and encourage your boys. Praying for Andrew today, that he'll be able to ride his tricycle soon. Love you.

Allison said...

I feel for you... do you think if you borrowed one of our tricycles with the stick thing that it would help him learn? Maybe you pushing with his feet on the pedals would help with muscle memory or something?

Brenda said...

Hi Lindsay, just a lurker here:)

I understand what you are saying and it is so great that he has a Mommy like you. But I think (and hope) that when we see our children's struggles or shortcomings or whatever, that it is only we as their Mother's see it and never our children:) With you for encouragement, your boys will never know they "couldn't".
God bless!

Whitney said...

This is the hardest part of being a mom. Unfortunately, this won't be the last time your heart will hurt but you wouldn't be human if you didn't feel that way. You are one great mama!

Weavers said...

That is so precious... I know as a mom you scoop down, rescue him, and make those little legs pedal! God is teaching so much through this sweet little boy- as our Heavenly Father I'm sure at times He wishes He could conquer our inabilities for us as well. Your'e such a good mom to Andrew!
(and we do have a nice Radio Flyer trike that you can steer, sitting in our garage, not being used right now, if you want to see if he can get the hang of the pedaling motion- you're welcome to use it!)
Saw you tonight from a distance at the pool- we were already on the hayride trailer. I wanted to say hi- hope the boys had fun!

DWin said...

I have no idea of the struggles y'all go through every day. But, I know that my 2.5 year old daughter still can't ride her tricycle. Andrew WILL ride his bike, it just might take a little more work and time. :)

lala00 said...

It hurts a mom's heart so much to not be able to "fix" something for her child! You have a wonderful attitude and must be such an encouragement to day he will ride that bike and feel the success more than every other child that didn't think twice about it. (on that note - Ben is 3 1/2 and still can figure out how to ride his...some day!)

Lindsey said...

They make pedals that have straps to hold on feet- I don't know if you could switch out the ones on your trike. If not, velcro works pretty good to hold the foot on while you help him push. The repitition of that motion is very good for coordination and muscle development. Good luck- he's such a determined little boy!

Mountain Girl said...

Ask the pt for suggestions - like maybe straps on the pedals. Maybe one of those "portable" pedal machines where you can help him get the motion. I just can't even imagine how much your heart and his hurt. I am confident that one day he will ride his tricycle - he sounds persistent and determined and a miracle!

The Ward's said...

Love and hugs for you and Andrew. You are an awesome mom!