I was sitting on the scooter in the Air and Space Museum; sitting sort of in the corner waiting for my family to gather with me. It was a great people watching spot. I was watching this one particular family. A young Mom and Dad, maybe in their early thirties, three young kids, and a woman who I took to be the Grandma. She looked kind of like I would in about 15 years - curly shoulder length hair that she let go gray, wearing a comfortable sweater and jeans, practical sneakers. She was using her strong arms to swing her toddler granddaughter back and forth. She was facing me and I caught her eye and smiled. She smiled back. She leaned down and whispered in her granddaughter's ear, and then the little girl came toddling over to me and did that backwards wave that kids do before they have their sense of direction. I waved back and said "hi". She toddled back to her Dad and her Grandma went after her.
Yesterday I felt so strong and rejuvenated. Almost like the ALS had paused and was giving me a gift. I felt alive visiting with friends and was able to move with more fluidity. There were no moments of great sorrow, and I didn't feel this overwhelming sense of fatigue that I sometimes do. I felt like my old self in so many ways, yet almost a newer, more aware version. Like I had some epiphany of what it is that makes people whole and happy. When I sat down to write my blog post "2016", it felt so right to think about all that went well during the past year.
Now it is New Year's Eve, and as many people do, I am thinking about my New Year's resolution. What is it that I can do to make myself a better person; help my family; help my community; help my nation; help my world? I am going to work on listening more and talking less. Really hearing what people are saying. Some of this might be forced as it is becoming more difficult for me to talk for long periods of time without my voice being strained and my words becoming somewhat slurred. But maybe that is a sign that listening better is something of value that I can do. I can listen to my kids without passing judgement on their decisions. Sometimes they don't need my opinion, they just need to be heard (Thanks to my Mom for suggesting that). I can listen to our community members and see what it is that others need their village to do. I can listen to our national and world leaders and fill in the gaps of things they might be missing. I am going to try to listen more and act upon what I hear.
On our way home from DC we stopped for lunch at a Friendly's. We haven't been to a Friendly's in a really long time, and without saying it out loud I knew we were all pretty excited about the ice cream sundaes that were going to come at the end of our meal. We sat down and had some nice "wrapping up" conversations about our trip - what was your favorite part? what I would want to do next time? - the usual. We all were happy with our food and our company. Before our ice cream came, Sarah rolled me into the ladies room. I am not sure why but I was anticipating a struggle with the handicapped bathroom stall. I was pleasantly surprised! It was large and set up perfectly for someone in a wheelchair. I did my thing, washed my hands, and Sarah I came back to the table just as our ice cream arrived. I sat savoring every bite of that mint chocolate chip hot fudge sundae. But I realized the ease of the handicapped bathroom stall made me equally as happy. Weird, right?! I guess you never know where you can find happiness.