Ethan and his casts… He unsteadily gets up from his chair while I run to steady him. He shakes me off. Balances himself and takes a step without hesitation, without worry, without fear. He wobbles over to his desired destination and smiles as he reaches it.
If both my legs were in casts I don’t think I would be as nonchalant about it. I’m pretty sure I’d be complaining about how uncomfortable I am, how itchy I am, how hard it is to walk with these cemented legs, I would, without a doubt, indulge in a ‘pity me’ party.
But not my son, Ethan.
Ethan is unable to express his feelings.Over the years we have learnt to read Ethan and his behaviours which help us gauge his moods and if he is unwell. As you can imagine, we don’t always get this right,which can leave Ethan and us frustrated.
Ethan wobbled over to me. Sat on my lap, wrapped my arms around his belly as he yelled and screamed at the TV. I snuggled my head into his back. He moved forward. “No”. I stopped. I gently took one hand away and began to very softly rub his back. I figure, with his condition, his poor back must be so soar considering how he stands and walks. He let me. I kissed his ear. “No” I stopped. “I soar” he rubbed his striking blue eyes. I watched him. He stood up. Faced me and repeated “Soar” showing me his blue casted leg. “I know baby” I kissed his forehead, pulling him back onto my lap. “I soar” his face now red. “Ok buddy,” I rubbed his curled hands, keeping them busy so he couldn’t hit out. I knew he was on edge. I pointed for him to sit beside me on the couch, so I could rub both his little chubby feet. (FYI I hate feet. I absolutely hate feet.I hate my own the most but when you’ve kids, something changes and I don’t hate their tiny, dare I say,even cute feets!)
I rubbed his first foot with his eyes glaring at me. He was getting more anxious. “Soar” he pulled his foot away, hitting his casts against my leg in the process. “Calpol?” I asked, thinking there must be a pain in his foot. “No. I soar” he raised his leg and hit my leg. I won’t lie, I cursed as I rubbed my now bruised thigh. I had to think fast. I’ve never had a cast but I did remember my friend from years ago complaining about being so itchy. I grabbed J’s disregarded ruler.( you’d be surprised the amount of random items in our sitting room,truthfully, it’s not all down to the boys either).
I showed Ethan the ruler. He looked at me, bit his fingers and hit me again. I moved quicker this time, my thigh couldn’t take much more. I grabbed his leg, turned my back to him, as he pounded by back with his half opened fist, I shakily placed the ruler between his cast and sole and began gently rubbing it up and down, side to side, back and forth. The attack on my back stopped. He lifted his other leg, hitting my other thigh now,”matching bruises,how thoughtful!” I smiled as I removed the ruler ready to scratch his other foot. “Soar” he repeated as I took his second foot. “Itchy” I pointed at my mouth, “Itchy, no soar” .”Ichey” he repeated. I scratched his second foot.
He sat perfectly still while he rotated each foot every few minutes. He was calm. Halfway through he had, had enough. Pulling his leg away he roared “soar”. “Okay buddy” I quickly removed the ruler.”Ethan all better?” I asked, watching his face closely to see traces of pain.”Bye” he tried to stand, slipping he fell back onto the couch. I got up, held out my hands, “Mommy help?”.” No not you” he said as he took me up on my offer. “You ok bud” I kissed his head. “Fuck off” he wobbled back into his playroom. “You’re welcome ” I laughed.
He stopped, short of his door, and in a moment of clarity, which he rarely has these days, he turned and said “Thank you mom” ~ there are some things in this life that you can’t ever imagine making you feel like; you are the luckiest mom in the world~ my 12 year old thanking me is definitely one of those moments.It may seem so trivial, so small but to me, Ethan just spoke to me as Ethan, not a boy fighting a horrible greedy condition, that takes and takes, today it gave, gave me a simple glimpse of my Ethan. I stood watching him wobble over to his chair, sit and watch ‘Garfield’, laughing and screaming as he always does.
“Love you” I whispered.