Lightweight

Think being light-hearted doesn’t hold weight? Even in serious matters? Just ask the fly who won the vice-presidential debate.

Just ask an elementary school teacher how a whisper quiets an entire classroom.

Just ask a parent of a child with Down syndrome.

When Wil is feeling heavy, he has a hard time getting out of his own way. Even in serious matters. He’s decided, in the middle of the Saline post office parking lot, that he could not take another step. He sat down, cross-legged, half-way between our car and the post office door. Smack dab in the middle of the parking lot. Reminding him of the dangers held no weight. It was my singing to him that elevated his attention. It was Elizabeth’s offer of a piggyback ride that lifted him off the asphalt.

Wil can be equally heavy in the morning. No reminders of being late for school hold any weight. It is laughter that puts a new spin on the morning. But then there are the mornings when I’m not feeling the laughter. How do I share it if I’m not feeling it? And yet, every morning Wil demands my laughter or he falls heavier into his pillow.

After our hugs last Thursday morning, I tried a few familiar tactics to lift Wil, but nothing worked. Wil remained heavy in his bed. My reserves were empty. But I knew I had to dig deeper. I had to find something to cut through the heaviness. Somehow, from somewhere, I found myself talking to Wil in a new language: “Wharbargargrrrr, Wil! Grrrarrberrrargh!”

Wil sat up. “Wharbargargrrrr!” He replied.

“Time to – warrgarrrberrgarr – get – brrrgarrr – dressed!” I said.

“Ok – wharargrrrrrr – Mom!” he said. Yes! I thought.

I walked into the kitchen to make his breakfast and hollered back to his bedroom, “Whargarbrrrrgrrr, Wil!” He peaked his head around the edge of his doorway and yelled back “Wharbarrgrrr, Mom!” I laughed and thought to myself, I had not only busted through Wil’s heavy walls this morning; I busted through mine too.

Elizabeth was sitting at the kitchen table, eating an English muffin. “Are you talking Taz?” she asked, meaning the Tasmanian devil cartoon.

“Umm, yep!” I replied. (I guess it wasn’t my language after all. Thanks Taz!).

Though at times I wish lifting Wil were easier, I find myself thankful for the times that he’s not. It is in these times I have learned that somehow, from somewhere, even when I’m not feeling it, I can bring forth a light-heartedness. Once released, it creates a forward-moving momentum powerful enough to bust through the walls of heaviness.

Just ask Taz. He tornadoes through the boulders every day. “Whargarbrrrgrrr!”