This I Believe

Sara - Omaha, Nebraska
Entered on February 20, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: disability

I believe in the simplicity of life.

My youngest son, Avi, just turned 18. Not so much a milestone for him. For a child with a devastating illness and intellectual disabilities, whose prognosis to make it this far in life was uncertain, it was a huge milestone for his family. Avi doesn’t really notice any difference. He just keeps on going day to day as he always has; going to school, smiling at girls, kissing his dogs.

Which brings me to why I am envious of Avi. He lives life at face value. There are no secrets, no hidden motives, no excess baggage hanging around as there is for the rest of us. Avi likes everyone and knows how to disarm anyone with his engaging and beaming smile. But, best of all, he holds no grudges! If he ever gets angry it is for that moment and when the situation is resolved the anger goes away and for good. With Avi, emotions are black and white; happy, sad , whatever. There’s no nuance. Ahhh, simplicity!

The best way to describe our family’s experience with Avi in his childhood is rollercoaster. Up and down all the time, with medications, loss of skills, searching for a diagnosis and so forth. And in all that time of being with Avi and working with him, we had to learn to slow down, to take extra time; whether it was learning to stab food with a fork, sign a new word or put both arms through the sleeves of a shirt. Everything broken down into simple steps to complete one task. The successes may have come in small steps but they were HUGE! We learned to savor every one. Avi taught us that.

So, really, I learned to slow down with lots of other things as well. To appreciate, to savor all the little things in life. Really, though, if I was given a chance to change Avi at all I wouldn’t. See, he is the lucky one! He lives life on his terms, totally uncomplicated and not bogged down by alot of unnecessary stuff. Ahh, simplicity!