Last night, before a terrible tragedy ended one of my favorite parades, a member of the Sirens walking krewe looked at Aidan and dug through her bag to find this siren’s bottle just for him. Though she didn’t say why, I believe it was because of the note inside, and how powerfully it would resonate for a 3-year-old with a cast up to his thigh, stuck in a wheelchair during what is arguably the best time of year if you live in NOLA.
“I’m not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my own ship. “
My son is my hero. Period.
19 days ago he suffered an accident while out having the time of his life and found himself in more pain than should be fair for a small child - a broken bone, just under his knee near the growth plate.
In that moment, fun vanished for him. He wasn’t himself. My smiling, loud, non-stop talking child wouldn’t smile and he wouldn’t talk for
nearly 10 waking hours.
Within those first 24 hours, he was smiling and laughing once he was splinted. In that time, he also went to the ER. I had to stand by and listen and watch as he was essentially tortured (through no fault of the ER staff) in getting X-rays and a cast. Even still, he found calm and would sing and play.
Over the next 19 days, his world was different. My child who loved to say “I’ll do it” and run to do said thing, had no way to do it. The child who made it a game to climb on and off things to help, no longer could. The toddler who loved squatting down to build train tracks and race hot wheels, could only do so if someone let him - which we of course did. He couldn’t play with his friends. He couldn’t even go potty alone - something he’s been doing since before he was 2.
But you know what? He didn’t complain. Within a day of the full leg cast, he’d figured out how to butt scoot along the floor by putting his good foot under his bad. He taught himself how to roll over by tugging on the blanket and pulling himself - while mommy and daddy held it. Within seconds of being in a wheelchair on day 4, he was off, free once again.
He’s figured out how to play, admittedly by himself. He’s learned not to cry when his friends don’t stay by the wheelchair at school, play dates, and parades. Aidan “runs” through the house by scooting along the floor, giggling and grinning as he goes. He suffered through getting a cast off and a new one on at a hard angle for his stiff leg and while it sounded like an exorcism during it, five minutes later he was laughing and giggling asking to come back and see his leg photos again. He’s a fantastic terror, chatting everyone’s ear off and shouting “I’ve got a broken leg” to try and get stuff at the parades.
Throughout everything, he hasn’t lost his shine. He’s not once given into the sadness that I swear an adult would. He’s not complained about being stuck in one spot or losing his beloved bath time. (Though he literally pushed up off the ground with joy when I opened a cast cover that will let him swim!). Even last. night, when he was in pain because Mommy and Daddy didn’t do the best lifting jobs and made him sore.
He is a hero.
We write books with these strong, masculine leads and heroines we either identity with or strive to be. We often times forget that there are other hero’s, little ones with bigger hearts who tackle adversity in a way adults couldn’t fathom.
I only have a few novels with kids - and I’m not going to link them because that’s not what this is about - they’re not “characters.” They’re more plot elements, unique as they needed to be to let Mommy and Daddy shine.
I want us to do more. Romance is about the kids, too. Let’s all make a story where a young child is the hero in a parent’s life, not just an accessory.
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