- and I don't mean kinder in the sense of everyone being nice to each other - although many people have in fact been more than kind and helpful to me, in this my distressful time.
No, I mean kinder in the short “i” pronunciation, in the sense of 'kindergarten': minding the children.
- The recent break in my leg, and my current life in a cast-like brace, has forced me into a little break from regular life. Besides being a literal pain in the ass, since my exercise and muscle health are not what they usually are, and the lumbar area is not breathing properly – it's an enforced, - shall we be positive and say, - 'opportunity' - to see, to experience, to be patient.
- Ah, yes, patience, for the super slow pace of everything now. Which brings me to the kindergarten. Having been a supply teacher in classrooms back when I had two legs, I find that I have to treat myself as if I was a bumbling and dependent group of little five or six-year-olds.
- OK, class, it's time to get dressed to go outside; everyone line up quietly; fingers on lips; watching me; walking – I SAID WALKING!!. And like those crazy kids, I take forever to get from one room to another; to stand up and wash at the sink; don't even mention getting on the toilet with a two-by-four attached to your groin. And then to get the clothing on: one piece at a time, with loving encouragement, discipline, gentle reminders of attention, and patience, always patience. Again, don't mention putting a sock on. We try and teach creativity too, and give praise for new solutions and understanding when we just cannot reach our foot because we can't bend the leg. Very good, little Maisie. Robert, please don't leave the crutch on the floor like that where someone might trip on it and BREAK THEIR LEG!!
- All ready, children? Oh, oh, there's the bell. I'm sorry, darlings, recess is over. OK, everyone, let's get these clothes off, and get back to the other room....
- And I repeat the same type of scenario all day long for whichever of the few activities available to me that I attempt. I save a shower for a long, long stretch, backing in and onto the portable seat I hope does not slide, then lifting my needy leg with the curved end of the cane around the foot, up, up, up and over the old person's bathtub grip, recently loaned and installed, - a reminder of infirmity which is most definitely not a fashionable design item. I hardly ever wash my hair anymore. I wear my clothes to bed. I'm lovely. And sometimes, when other people shop for me and drive me places, and cook me meals, I get bored and bad enough to think I should keep this break going for a while.
- But I know, really I do, it's an opportunity, and now I think of it, a unique one, - to steal away from the world: reading, stretching, eating, watching movies; taking slow, careful, smell-the-roses walks, listening to music, visiting with visitors, and most of all, to appreciate the mobility I used to have.
- And those sweet, dull, repetitive, noisy and obnoxious little children, - those empty vessels? Which for me are all the new little synapses and muscle and nerve endings that are ever-so-slowly healing and learning? At the end of the day, they have grown into better people, with some love, we hope, for the teacher who collapses into bed each night, swinging and slinging the leg onto the mattress, and slowly, gently, in as quickly as fifteen minutes or so, rolling herself over to sleep, dreaming of swimming and running, and riding her bike – oh, glory! Oh happy day! Riding a bike!.
Here I am dreaming of swimming in lovely warm Mediterraean waters: (photo by Chris)
P.S. This is a kinder, much better world here in Canada today, (in the being kind sense) because the people finally woke up and got rid of evil Harper. Thank you, thank you, all who voted him out!