Lately Robby has been showing more signs of becoming a teenager. While he is only 9 and, at least in my eyes still a little boy, he has become increasingly snarky. He always has to have the last word to prove that he is correct, and seems to relish pointing out my mistakes. With everything I do wrong, it is absolutely amazing that I have lived over 40 years.
Whenever appropriate, I try to bring my boys with me when meeting with a new amputee family. I find it helps to authenticate my experiences. It is easier to believe that recovery and adaptation are possible when witnessing me trying to wrangle everybody during the visit. Yesterday afternoon, I took Robby out of school a little early so that he
could accompany me on a visit to meet with a new amputee mom and her
son. (I quietly hoped that the lure of being released from class an hour early would help to keep the pre-teen monster in check.)
The visit went well and everybody was behaved. Timmy quietly played with his toy laptop while I met with my new amputee friend. I answered questions and shared my experiences, but most of the time I just listened. Robby spent the time playing and chatting with her five year old son.
As we were preparing to leave, Robby said goodbye to his new friend. Without prompting from me, he gave the little guy a hug and spoke carefully. "Always remember. Just because you are scared doesn't mean that you
aren't strong. Having a mom without a leg is no big deal, but I know
that you don't know that right now. Soon you will though, and her robot
leg will be normal."
Witnessing this heartfelt interaction, my heart swelled with pride. Despite his pre-teen demeanor at home, Robby continues to
show empathy and compassion in public. (Apparently the rest of the world
is not nearly as inadequate and mistake riddled as his own family.)