June 10, 2007

Living Room

We adults sit on the couch, or on a chair, or on the floor in our living room. We pose our limbs however we like. We enjoy beverages and edibles, and converse amongst ourselves.

Meanwhile, very near by, a smaller person has to grunt and moan his way through the most grueling displays of physical prowess that he can muster, day in and day out. Where we come to relax, he comes to do battle: against gravity, against leverage, against mass, against his own nervous system. It's sort of strange to be sharing a space with someone going through something like this.

Six weeks ago, he would be spread-eagled on the floor, panting and rolling his eyes like a wild horse from the effort of trying to, say, pivot his left arm downwards toward the side of his body so he could roll over. At some point, he figured out how to manage that trick -- and many other tricks besides.

And now the game has moved to a whole other level; he tells me he's thinking more about this "standing" thing, and he wants to try it. But then he interrupts himself to spend a while prying up the rug -- which he's sitting on -- to see what's underneath. After a while, he turns back to me -- but he's forgotten what he was saying again.

I'm always so impressed by the elasticity of his mind and the depths of his good nature, to cope with such futility and struggle, so constantly.

I said to Sarah, it's as though we were sitting in lawn chairs at the top of a sheer rock face thousand feet high, while one of our friends free-climbed it. We murmur encouragements, we lower down a (sippy) cup of water -- what else can we do? Like the sad songs say, Elliot has to walk that lonesome valley by himself. But fortunately, he's not the least bit sad about it.


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