So I’m not the only one!

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(The photo is from bing images as we can’t take photos of our special sailors)

My eleven year old grandson was a little anxious at the idea of accompanying me to my volunteer sailing. He loves kayaking and water in general but wasn’t sure how he’d be around disabled folks. (He was staying with me while his parents were away.)

“I don’t know how to act, I just feel so bad for them,” he explained.

“Don’t “act”, just be yourself, they are experts at that,” I explained. “Show them respect by treating them as you would anyone else.”

He was trying extra hard to be helpful as we helped ready the boats. A normally friendly guy, he seemed a little reticent around all us busy retired folks (it being a week day the younger volunteers  were working). Then the “special” sailors began to arrive. He’d been helping fish out the weed with a long branch (it’s been a problem this year) and one of the teenage sailors seemed to think this a great task and joined him.  They seemed to quietly enjoy each other’s company sharing the task, so our smart leader decided to try him on a kata-canoe together with several other sailors and a carer.

I was drafted to the safety boat from which I noticed a lot of noise coming from the canoe, my grandson’s voice yelling above the commotion. Concerned that he might be making a nuisance of himself (he can get a bit much sometimes lol!) we drew alongside and I asked the carer  if he was getting too rambunctious, but he replied, no he was doing great at getting the others to join in.

After the session ended he came bounding up.

“I’ve never had so much fun and I just made five new friends! I see what you mean Gran , I really like these guys!” he yelled at me.

That was it for the rest of the day. He went out twice more on the canoes not only pulling his wait paddling hard in the hot sun, but getting the kids/families to join in. He was so appreciated that a family, that came for the first time that day, tried to give him a tip! Lol! (We explained that he had had as much fun as their kids and no way did they need to tip him!) but I heard them talking to each other saying they’d never expected it to be so much fun and that they’d definitely be bringing the kids again.

Home exhausted, but happy, he asked eagerly “can I come again next week?”

“You were right about them Gran,” he added, “they were more fun than my regular friends. They don’t try to act cool, they are just themselves and it’s so much fun being with them.”

The bonding surprised me and I was real proud of him. He’d seen right past their varied disabilities to recognise their true value.

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Hidden sunshine.

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The day is dull and cloudy, and yet there trails a song,

The water still and placid as the wind pulls us along.

The birds that circle over, tern, swallow and a goose,

The flapping of the sail above, the line that is too loose.

The laughter of my sailor as she spots one of her own,

His craft he’s proudly steering (though he’s also from the home).

Their lives are seldom sunny, each body has a flaw,

Yet the heart that dwells within them still causes them to soar.

The calmness of the water that stretches all about,

Must open up the spirit and let the joy come out.

 

(Thoughts on taking disabled folks sailing).

Visit with “Angels”

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kids act

Such simple things, a visit with old friends, warm and loving, old fashioned concern and manners breaching our three generations.

I get to eat delicious home made Indian food along with a lesson in how to make it. Children eager to show their newly learnt dancing skills enlist my help as the audience. I’m taken to see a splendid tent made of sheets and quilts strung precariously from bunk bed to wardrobe. A modeled clay train (with a failed request to put a real fire inside) and paper and felt craft projects delight my senses. Small hands dutifully take water to the pet rabbits and hamsters. The table is set, the dishes washed, by young fingers while mum sits down to talk.

Not an Ipad, phone or TV show disrupts them from their happy creativity. No boredom here, no winge or murmur, just projects and fun, piano and guitar playing, circus acrobatics, badminton in the garden and table tennis on the dining room table and all around smiles. Can they be this good all the time I wonder? I’ve never once seen them naughty, but their parents assure me they have their moments. What then is this wonder of creative harmony? Ah yes, of course – they are home schooled.

“Halftermitus” and the “B’ word.

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boredom

I’ve been busy nursing my grandson through a severe case of halftermitus barely able to reach my keyboard due to incessant echos of “I’m bored”, hungry, tired etc.

It’s amazing how the absence of school in the diet can change a normally eager to play/watch a movie/game on Ipod young boy into a lethargic, grumpy old man! In spite of daily “shaking vigorously” in fresh air, field trips, extra movie buying/renting, old fashioned board games (strangely a more popular venue) and art and lego projects the days just seem too long and sooner or later the “b” word reappears.

I even tried banning its use for a while explaining, “its really a state of mind rather than an actual lack and indulging in its frequent use tends to enlarge the problem”. It didn’t work, being from then on referred to “the world you said not to use”. This is the first year this has happened. could it be the early onset of the dreaded “teen years”? heaven forbid he’s only nine!

I sigh and remember my own kids who seldom seemed to use the “B” word in spite of being home schooled till mid teens, but that was another age and situation when kids tended to have 101 projects going on and, being a big family, someone always had ideas to pursue. Now there’s an unrealistic childhood expectation (gleaned from TV and computer games) of constant entertainment that’s tough to meet.