My boy. My son. My big guy. My little man. My Roman LOVES all the various things in this world that are boy related. Trucks, cars, airplanes, tractors. Things that growl, things that are remote controlled, things that hiss. and things covered in dirt, mud and rocks. This might change everything.
Recently, we were given an amazing gift. After asking some questions about forearm crutches to my fellow Spina Bifida community, one mother reached out and mentioned that she had some laying around. Her daughter had a set and didn't need two pair. Our lucky day! She did warn us however, that they were hot pink. She sent them out immediately and by the middle of the week we had the box sitting on our porch.
Roman and I had talked about the crutches for a while. I had asked him if he wanted to try some and showed him some colors that he could pick from. This, of course happened before I knew we were getting the gift. I had asked him these questions when I still had plans of buying some. So, I bring the box in and Roman asks excitedly, "Is this for me!?" "Yes, These are for you, Rome." He burst into a small parade with shouts and cheers. "It's not a pet giraffe, man. Chill out" I wanted to squash his excitement. As a mother, you must know how hard this was for me. I wanted him to be happy, of course. But, I know my son and I didn't want to open that box and have him be angry with me.
Roman is starting to become aware of, "things that are for girls" and, "things that are for boys" If I tried to put lipstick on him, he'd laugh and say "No way Momma!" Not that I've ever tried to put lipstick on him or anytyhing. That would be crazy!
So anyway, as he's cheering and clapping I had quick flashbacks of the time I tried to put lipstick on him. I thought for sure that he would see the hot pink, and within minutes of opening the box I would be sending them back. I was so afraid. I want him to love, man I NEED him to love them.
The moment I open the box, I looked up at him. I was sure that I would see his bright eyes turn to disappointment and his crooked smile fade to a pout.
...but it never happened.
Roman clapped and said, "Are these for me!?" "Yes, Roman, these are your new crutches. Aren't they cool?" I asked Roman if he wanted to try them on. "YES!" I was reluctant to try them without daddy here. I wanted more than anything to capture his first time using them, but I also wanted somebody to help him. I was conflicted with two thoughts. The first, if he tries them with no help and falls it might discourage or scare him and then getting him to continue with them might prove more difficult. The second, what if he takes right off in them and does better than anybody could have imagined. I would be robbing my husband and our supportive friends and family that amazing, magical sight.
So, Roman and I agreed that I would record his first time trying them on, and if he wanted to do anything he could or he could wait for daddy to come home. Basically, I just wanted to record his reaction trying them on.
He did an amazing job. He made me cry, he made me proud, he made me feel so hopeful. And, I have to be honest with you, Spina Bifida can easily and quickly suck the hope out of you. Sometimes you don't even know it's missing until you get it back.
A little wobbly, and a little nervous, my little man has reached a new milestone in this journey. I'm so incredibly proud of him.
The next day, we had our first PT (Physical Therapy) appointment with his new hot pink crutches. I'm glad I forgot the camera. It didn't go well. Roman cried, he said he hated them and did't want to use them. He was hitting them on the floor and yelled, "I can't do it!"
We convinced him to try going for a walk. He was wobbly and all over the place. I think he hated feeling like he wasn't in control as much as we hated to see him struggle. His PT assured me that it's hard this time, but it'll get easier. I trust her, so we packed up and moved on.
During the week we left them out in the open and offered them to Roman here and there. He wasn't interested in them. He has lost that excitement for them. I was so discouraged. I was so afraid. Finally, the next week came and it was time to go back to PT. I packed up my crew and with much, much anxiety we tried the crutches again.
Again, something changed in Roman. He had a little more confidence, he had a little more control. He WANTED to walk with them. He WANTED to do well. He wanted to learn how to do them, and it's that level of determination that makes Roman so special.
First, we played with them. Just to get used to them.
Then, we got loaded up, and headed for the door.
He's happy to be walking. He loves Lori and trusts her so much. She has made such a big impact on him. He LOVES going to "Lori's house" and I truly believe it's his love for Lori and PT that have got us this far.
She lets him makes messes and this is him doing, "the robot" A little play time, and then it's back to business!
We're headed out the door! C-ya later, mess!
We're in the hallway, we made it. I stopped taking pictures at this point, because it's the farthest he's gone. It's the longest he's wore the crutches and a smile at the same time. We walked the length of the hallway, stopped for a drink and started to walk back. He eventually conceded to exhaustion and got a ride back to the room. That's quite fine with me. He did an amazing job.
From the very start, Roman has surprised me with these crutches. He loved them when I thought he would hate them, and then didn't want to try them when I thought he would.
I guess what impresses me most about Roman is how stubborn he is. But, in a good way. He's not walking because I want him to (Even though I do) He's not walking because he knows it would make daddy happy, he's not doing it prove the doctors wrong. and he's probably not doing it to catch up with Izzy. (Although, I haven't ruled that out yet) Mostly, he's doing it because he wants to. And, I guess when you're that hell-bent on proving something to yourself you'll do whatever it takes. Even if it means sporting some hot pink crutches with camo pants.
(Insert picture of Roman wearing camo pants and using hot pink crutches)
Whaaaat? I forgot to take the picture. Who cares, it would have been blurry anyway.
A huge, giant, enormous, thank you to The Keicher family for the super awesome hot pink crutches. You guys rock. Thank you so, so much!