Anyone of a certain age will know that it doesn't matter how many times we fall in life, but rather how often we get back up which truly defines the depth of our character. And nowhere is this better demonstrated than by a small person trying to figure out how to walk.
Next time you want to throw in the towel and give up on something, because it's 'too hard' I dare you to stop feeling sorry for yourself, grow a pair and head on down to the local playground to watch how often those small people fall down and get back up. Sometimes they audibly smack their head. Sometimes they draw blood. Sometimes their face crumbles in a 'boo boo lip' and a simple distraction gets them back on their feet, readying for the next fall. They are steel and you are a soft and mushy banana pudding. You will feel like a complete ass, in the midst of the world's largest pity party. Boo hoo.
We weaken as we age. In so many ways.
Join us here on planet Rukai where witnessing this tough nut-ed-ness gets even better. Because here's a toddler who, through the luck of genetics, has been dealt one 'get-on-yer-feet-later' card, and another 'fall-down-for-a-few-months-longer-than-the-average-bear' card. This, as part of that old 'sorry-but-you're-short-a-couple-synapses' hand, cut from the deck that forcibly made him an honorary member of society's 'we-aren't-going-to-expect-much' club. But, hot damn, aren't you a cutie?!
Bollocks. Infinite bollocks. I expect much. I expect a hella much. And so does he. Of himself. Of the world. He is full of beans. He is full of total, pure, true grit, pilgrim. You may call him the Duke.
So, what cards? These cards? Pfft.
And then - like everything else he gets his chubby little mitts on - he chucks those cards on the floor, flips them the bird and stands ten seconds longer than the last time. Ten seconds longer before the next side-shuffle, the next lopsided balance, the next fall. Giggling at the fun of it all. Just like every one of his peers, in the feat (pun firmly intended) of standing and trying to figure this walking thing out, the fearlessness is astonishing. My pride so all-encompassing I must be on the very top of the hefty sinners list, but them's the breaks. This is my boy.
This is my hero.
He can't stand unaided yet but no one seems to have told him about it. And HANG on. He is supposed to be floppy. And lazy. And weak. Right?
(...take your stats and...you know the song by now)
And the last meeting with the health visitor, foolishly still trying to convince me there are people in the so called medical profession who can draw this ability out of him sooner with their superhero magic powers. Sorry lady there are no X-Men employed by the NHS. No sorcerers. No ancient juju priests with magical walkie walkie spells made of deer antlers and buffalo sweat and corn cobs. Rukai will do it, like he will do everything else: on his timetable when he is ready to, with the aid and stimulation of his family...those of us who know and love him best. That is all the magic he needs. Now, again, please go.
But before you go, bring some cheese. Yes, cheese. Because although they are his ultimate snack of choice, our intrepid hero is a master at pulverizing Babybel wheels. They have no chance. Half shoved in his mouth, chomped on with his eight-teeth-on-top-and-one-on-the-bottom funky Rukai dental configuration, and the rest pulped and unceremoniously hurled on the playmat. But I can't let half of every wheel go to waste, so I pick up the pieces and I rebuild the cheese. I rebuild that cheese and I hand it back to him.
Like I have rebuilt my heart, and my hopes, and my world, and handed those back to him.
After the people who arrogantly positioned themselves as 'in the know' began to prove that they really don't know a damn thing. I can read too, old bean. Nicely played though, if not us, at least you've convinced yourself.
We fall down and get back up. Like Rukai. Just like him. Is he different from 'ordinary' people? No. Is he 'less' in any way than 'ordinary' people? No.
Get up. Get up. Rise up. You rise up.
I could learn a hell of a lot from my son. Can't wait for the next lesson.