Why Elephants Don’t Like Snow

Today Wil had a good day. I’m not sure how tomorrow will be, but a good day today is enough to get me to tomorrow. Let’s take this thing day-by-day-by-day.

There is an analogy that no one can walk up to a grown elephant and have the strength to pick him up. However, if you begin by lifting the elephant in its infancy, and lift the elephant each day, you will grow stronger as the elephant grows. One day you will find yourself lifting a grown elephant. In these last few weeks, I feel not as if I’ve been lifting an infant elephant; rather the infant elephant decided to sit itself right on my stomach. I felt the slight shift of his infant weight, carrying on as usual. Then, day-by-day, his weight became almost in-perceptively heavier. Until, one day, I felt like I was dragging around and wondered what the heck just happened.

As I’ve mentioned recently, Wil has been having some trouble at school. He started the school year like a Rockstar. Popping out of bed, going to all his classes, taking the bus home. Shazam!! The twins were cranking out their first year of high school. I was able to coach more classes with the extra time Wil taking the bus home afforded me. We were all on a roll!

Then the stubbornness started to creep in. Some days were good days. Wil breezed through the day, with a few halts, doing most of his work, getting on the bus to come home and telling me about his day. Some days had stops and starts. Wil refusing to do his reading. But then after some time agreeing to another task. Some days came to an abrupt halt. Wil sat on the stairwell and refused to get on the bus. I needed to come and pick him up. I’d go to work with knots in my stomach. Would I get a call that he wouldn’t get on the bus? How would I pick him up if I was in the middle of coaching a class?

I make sure our mornings at home are upbeat to get him off to a strong start. Some days take more patience than I think I have. He refuses to get out of bed. We have lots and lots of hugs. Then all is good. Other days he jumps out of bed ready to go. I never quite know. The elephant grows.

Almost every day now Wil is not cooperating. Wil refuses the bus. A good friend is picking Wil up from school tomorrow. I’ve made changes in my afternoon coaching schedule. It takes a village and I’m thankful to have one. But still, the elephant grows.

Not knowing how his day is going to go, and not quite sure what the right tools are to handle it have, over time, day after day, fed this particular elephant.

I just read a quote that said joy does not bring gratitude. Rather, gratitude brings joy. I believe that to be true. Because really, I could paint a big joyful rainbow on this elephant sitting on me. I could say, look how pretty he looks! I’m making the best of it! But his growing red-orange-yellow-green-blue-purple colored butt would still be weighing me down.

I know others have heavier elephants. And I know we will figure this out. But sometimes it’s plain cathartic to yell out the simple truth: Dammit this is hard!

But this is my favorite part of life—-the little spontaneous things that happen. Seemingly inconsequential things that give you just the right leverage right when you need it. Just the right wedge under the elephant to lighten the load.

Today, the back of my car was full of thank you letter and packages for our Buddy Walk sponsors. It was more than I could carry into the post office in one load. A man with a Vietnam Veterans hat on walked over to me and said, “Do you want a little help?”
“Yes, thank you!”
“I’m retired, so I have the time. But in return,” as he eyed all of the mailings, “you have to let me get in line in front of you.”
“You have a deal.”

I was at the post office long enough to overhear multiple conversations. People sending packages to loved ones. Another woman who took in a sickly dog that lived 15 years. She was mailing photos to the place she bought him from. They had kept in touch over the years. I drove home feeling a little lighter for my gratitude.

Wil’s team at school has been working hard to find motivators for Wil. They set him up for success every day. I’m thankful for that, more than I can express. I walk into his goal setting meetings not ready for a fight, sadly as some parents must do, but ready to talk as a team. That is some major gratitude leverage.

And today, when I picked Wil up from school, he was full of energy. It was so good to see him end the day on a high note.

Driving home, Wil picked up my phone, turned on Amazon Music, and pulled up his favorite country singer, Luke Bryan. He played Luke’s song, “Rain is a good thing” and started to sing with Luke at the top of his lungs. When Wil looked out the window, he changed the word “rain” to “snow.”

Wil sang, “Where I come from, snow is a good thiiiiiiiing! Oh yeah!”

I guess elephants don’t like the snow, because that big guy got up and ran.

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