Alessandro recently got a scooter.  

We have had it for only a few weeks, but it has already changed both of our lives dramatically.

The words really should come from Alessandro's mouth about how it has helped, so I won't even attempt to do it justice here.  But I did want to note a couple of important events, moments and milestones we have already experienced.

On June 2, 2013, four days after Alessandro got his scooter, he exercised his new-gained independence in a big way.  It was a Saturday morning and I was out of town for work.  It was a nice day and he decided that he wanted to go to Eastern Market.  So he went on his own.  Just him!

He got on his scooter and off he rode to EM.  It took him only 6 minutes to get there on his scooter, which is about how long it takes to walk there from our place. Sure, he had a few hiccups along the way, like dropping his wallet on the way there, discovering it only at the moment that he went to pay for something, riding back over his tracks to find it, running into a couple who told him that they found his wallet and looked at his license to find his address and walked to our apartment to turn his wallet in!, returning to the apartment to get his wallet and then heading back up there.  Whew.  But he was on a mission.  And his mission?  To get me flowers.

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That same night, we walked to St. Andrew's for a concert, which is about a 15 minute walk from our place.  The walk there and back was so special and is a moment I will cherish and remember for a long time.  Previously, whenever we walked somewhere of distance, I would push him in a wheelchair, only get to look at the top of his head, and would be sweaty and tired by the time we arrived at our destination.  He couldn't see me at all, and would have to turn his head around if he wanted me to hear what he was saying.  Eye contact, exchanged glances, smiles and expressions tend to get lost in those circumstances.  But not that night.  Al was on his scooter, I got to walk comfortably beside him, he had control over his movements, and we got to look at each other while we walked and talked. What a novel concept!  It was a freedom neither one of us had felt in a long time and it was pretty cool.

June 2, 2013 - Leaving the Devendra concert at St. Andrew's

A few days later, Alessandro got a little more ambitious and decided to go to an afternoon Tiger's game by himself.  I was in court for a speeding ticket that day (dang!) so I couldn't go with him, but I met up with him at the game when I got out of court, which was just in time to catch an inning and a half of baseball.  I got to walk home with him, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to do. It's the little things, people. 

June 6, 2013 - Al's First Solo Tiger's Game

I don't really know many perfectly mobile people who would go to a Tiger's game by themselves.  Alessandro, on the other hand, didn't think twice.   He's nothing if not impressive.  


Just Because: A Lesson from Ava

Anyone who has children, nieces or nephews, or other kids in their lives, knows how these little ones manage to instill invaluable lessons upon us when we least expect it.  Lessons about unconditional love, finding joy in the simple things, endless curiosity and beyond.  The other day, Ava shared a lesson of simple kindness through a wonderful, inclusive gesture.  

I walked into my sister's house and was greeted by Ava who was doing a project by herself in the living room.  She had stacks of white paper and markers on the table and said she was making something for school.  She asked me if I would help her draw some pictures, but I assumed it was a homework assignment so I told her I didn't think I should. "That would be cheating right?"  My sister overheard me and said, "That's not a homework assignment.  She's just doing that on her own."  When I looked closer at her project, I saw that she was making greeting cards.  A lot of cards.  For every one of her classmates.  "22!" she said proudly.  

I asked her why and she said, "Just because."  It melted my heart.  I gave her a big hug and a kiss and told her how nice she was. And when I started to look at her work, I could hardly handle the cuteness. 

She made a list of all of her classmates, separated by "Grils" and "Boys" and crossed them off as she completed them.  

She drew fancy pictures of flowers, animals, cars, rainbows and beyond.

And on the inside she wrote a personal message.  She wished that each of her classmates had a spectacular, awesome, super or great weekend.  Simple as that. On one of the last cards that she made, she used the adjective "hopeful."  

She even made one for her teacher.

She eventually enlisted Maya's help and quickly discovered that Maya was good at drawing "ninja scenes," so she asked Maya to do a few cards for the boys.  I also helped with a picture or two and went through her list with her to make sure she got everyone.  That picture Ava is drawing on the left in the pic below was meant to be an octopus, but as you see it didn't really work out.  So she wrote "Octopus" above it just so that there was no misunderstanding.  

I loved that she decided to use her free time that day to make cards for all of her classmates.  Not just for the girls, or her best friends, or the person she sits next to, but all of them.  It reminded me that you don't need any reason in particular to do something kind and generous.  

Sometimes, thinking like a child isn't a bad thing. 

P.S.  More Maya and Ava.