Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Little Robbie

Before Robert was “Robert,” he was Little Robbie and Little Robbie was a little terror! I even wrote in my diary once that I didn’t like him (yes, there were such things as “diaries” and “pens” before Facebook). I was probably ten and knew everything and he was five and couldn’t sit still. He loved to destroy things; he wouldn’t listen to me; he got lost in every store we visited. Curly hair with round cheeks and a stocky build to go with them; blessed with dimples just like Other Brother and me.

At ten, I didn’t have the patience for him. I pulled out my treasured diary one day, took the tiny key out of its hiding place (long since forgotten although Other Brother may remember as I’m sure he sneaked a peek at it occasionally) and unlocked the book holding all of my deepest secrets (like which boy I had a crush on that second and how much I LOVED John Travolta and Peter Frampton).

“I don’t like Robbie. I don’t know why. I know I should love him but most of the time I don’t.”

Ugh. Brutal. Since I’m so good with guilt, it still stings a bit when I think about it.

I think about that little guy and know that I loved him in spite of him being a typical annoying little brother. And in spite of him having this strange thing called "Epilepsy."

He must have expended most of his energy in those early days because he moves pretty slowly now (unless he’s pushing his walker downhill, then he picks up some speed!). He’s grown up into a polite man who didn’t have the same shot at life that most of the rest of us do but who makes the most of his days and who probably lives in the moment far better than anyone I know.

He plows through his Word Search puzzles with the same intense concentration that I have when working on the Budget at work. Robert continues to shave and brush his hair and dress himself even though it takes him ten times as long as any of us (although it does take me a while to choose which shoes I’ll be wearing for the day).

Robert does not get discouraged. He perseveres through seizures and trips to the hospital and people staring at him because he wears a helmet. He only shows his stubbornness when he isn’t allowed to do something he thinks he should be able to do (like standing up to close a bus window while it is moving).

Robert enjoys simple activities like going to the park and flying kites. He recently went with Day Program to the park and they flew kites. That night, Robert told me when he flew the kite it went “way up high. Way, way up high. I mean, it really went way up there!” There was a flash of Little Robbie when he told me about flying that kite. The excitement, the newness of an experience, the pure joy of accomplishing something. Day Program shared with me that they had a hard time getting the kite back from Robert since he was enjoying it so much!

I didn’t have patience for Little Robbie but Robert teaches me patience now (it’s sometimes difficult for me to transition from “work speed” to “Robert speed”). He flashes his dimples when I visit and gives me a smirk when he’s won yet another card game. Obviously, he doesn’t hold grudges either.

Either that or he didn’t read my diary.

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