Theo has recently expressed his views on his present situation and, on the occasion of Mother’s Day, I thought it appropriate to add another perspective on how his insights on stability have been incorporated by our family.
With the new, Pilates-based techniques that Theo has found (videos here), he is keen to develop ways to integrate those methods in Northern California. We have just received the gym equipment that he ordered in support of this pursuit. It precipitated the complete rearrangement (thinning, mostly) of the living room… and, surprisingly, it feels just right.
The south wall now has five stations for exercises, almost all of which Theo manages on his own. For the ones on which he needs assistance, either to set up or to shift positions, often we’re nearby in the studio or kitchen, as he works out first thing in the morning to last thing at night. When he’s home, he’s any of: a.) hooked into springs, b.) decompressing on the ball, c.) doing postural work in the standing frame, d.) stimulating his legs on the vibration plate, or e.) repeating arm and hand activation techniques, among other exercises. What could be more fitting for a “living room” than equipment to help him live more fully?
Isn’t that the quest for all of us…to live more fully?
We’ve been told that we must adapt for that to happen. When change comes, as we know it will, how do we respond?
Since grade school days, we’ve known the ability to be flexible is critical in moving forward. At every stage of life, there is opportunity to meet the challenge, whether as a student switching schools, or in moving-out of the childhood home to go to college, as a young graduate relocating to a new city for a job or grad school, a parent suddenly an empty-nester, an adult with a new job or career, or the retiree exploring a different relationship with time: it always takes some adjustment and getting used-to.
All of those are more or less planned events. What differentiates the change that our family met is its wholly unanticipated nature and its extreme impact on our lives.
It is useful to reiterate the magnitude of the shock we all experienced. Almost everything that we assumed was solidly established for this stage in our lives: POOF. We were tossed into uncharted territory, having no idea of the steep learning curve that awaited us. Like Theo, who absorbed new parameters, we too made a thorough re-orientation which, in retrospect, was a form of extreme and all-encompassing adaptation. We had no time to plan the route as for a school, job, or retirement transition; we simply had to make the best-judgement calls as we pushed forward.
It is that same spirit of swiftly shifting our approach that makes effortless the rearrangement of our environment, in this case our living room to accommodate new equipment. Much of what would be considered “furniture” now is superfluous, as we make way for functional elements designed to help with therapy. This revision to the room is but one manifestation of the adjustments we have made, and still will make; it is a clear alteration of that which is familiar.
Such logistical shifts are one thing, but the mental framework is quite another, in so many ways. It is the constant striving for improvement, with often little result, that can be unnerving for Theo. Ray and I have front-row seats to observe the inherent challenges.
As we have always done as parents, we seek to balance expectations, finding the positive while recognizing the realistic. These understandings and the resulting projections are also subject to change. It is the steady flow of warm wishes from all who support Theo in various ways, along with our team approach of therapists, friends, and those who assist our family that helps us bridge the chasm between the certain and the unknowable.
While the specifics change, the sense of being open to learn-as-we-go continues. Oddly, there is a comfort in realizing that as we shift and modify our living situation, we are clearly still resilient. I feel lucky for myself and for my family that this is the case. Thus, in the spirit of celebrating the best of the big picture with recognition that nurturing comes from many directions, I want to offer a toast to all on this, A Mother’s Day!
Mother mentioned her front-row seat above. I feel privileged to have my own, and that is on the nature and passion of the mother’s position – and particularly on the tireless efforts of my Mother.
Of course, we see individual instances of a parent’s unconditional giving but not often is the time interval drawn to years in this way. It is a true endurance test, and I know how lucky I am to have a Mother who acts so completely without reservation to help her son and family again and again and again… and again. Thank you, Mom.