Back in first grade, my boy was given a writing prompt that asked, “How Do You Have Fun With Your Grandparents?”
And he wrote:
“I play wii with my grandpa. I beat him every time because he is a handicap.”
We laughed. It’s okay to laugh. It’s a funny sentence.
My boy is very competitive.
He is also a bit too young to understand the important lexical and connotational differences between someone having a handicap and someone being a handicap.
My boy meant no disrespect. He knows that his beloved pop is handicapped the same way he knows that Pop is a boy and that Pop loves football and that Pop will always share his BBQ chips and that Pop is terrible at wii.
When I was 3, my dad was in a terrible accident. When I was 13, he had a massive stroke, and in the aftermath, we were told that he wouldn’t live to see us graduate from high school. The fact that he cheered at all three of my graduations after that, danced with me at my wedding, and is now cheating at card games with my children is humbling and miraculous. I am grateful every day that we’ve had so much stolen time with this grumpy old man.
I’m even more grateful that in my boy’s eyes, Pop’s handicap is nothing to be sad about, nothing to worry about, and nothing to pretend doesn’t exist. It is nothing more than a way for a young boy to gain a slight advantage in a wii tennis match.
Pretty amazing, no?
This summer, I was able to do a public radio story about my parents. In the spirit of gratitude for the both of them, I’m reposting the link to this story here. If you want a little daily inspiration, their story is better than most.