The beauty of these days has been in simple moments – balance in the oddest of times -purpose that others struggle to find. Today our CoronaVirus Trail #54 day, being Friday ahead of Mother’s Day, I needed these men to myself. Some might call it a want, but I knew it was need. So I structured their helper’s work to allow morning work and activities toward their skill-building goals, yet committed to do the Dunkin’ walk myself in the afternoon.
Some might say a daily walk to buy iced coffee isn’t a major component of an adult life. Too small. Not connected to a larger goal of employment or community. They are dead wrong.
Look at those smiles. (admittedly this picture is a few weeks old because I was so enjoying the moment I forgot to take a new one, with our masks on inside the Dunkin convenience store.) In a disability characterized by isolation and frustration, often expressed in self-injury, and for Will lately, in tears – these face beam a contentedness I never knew you could get from a daily walk.
When given choices of activities, both men pick this walk #1, hands down. I wish they had the words to tell me why, so I have to go on other signs. Smiles. The zest in their steps. How the walked have allowed each to lose about 5 lbs. of early COVID noshing-pudge – so much so, that lately I’ve allowed Free Donut Friday to become a new family holiday.
How this Dunkin walk was a mom’s desperation move, when Dad’s non-COVID flu and early days of missing their usual day program routine meant the boys were squirrely beyond belief, and needed something, anything as structure and goal. How finding this Dunkin trail epitomized the search every special parent undertakes for those moments of connection, engagement and, dare I say, meaning.
I just had to grab one more of these moments before Saturday’s rains, and Sunday’s Mother’s Day agenda which will be a hike or wooded walk and not Dunkin’s. As I think broadly about what’s worked exceedingly well during this time and what I want to keep in the boys day programming – as a full moon of glory rises tonight to say there is still hope, and wonder left – I needed to see if this walk as a way to ask them.
Their feet, their smiles, their eagerness to be here with me spoke the words I needed, as we walked the old, new way home.