My grandson turned seven last week.
There was no more important year in my life than when I was seven.
For this reason I closely observe what my grandson does of late.
He runs fast, the more he shortens his stride the faster he runs.
I’m especially fascinated with his legs. Their porcelain color are touched with a slight golden tone from the summer’s sun.
He climbs fences effortlessly. Once his arms pull his body half way up, his legs take over, and with the dexterity of a gecko, it looks like he climbs the rest of the way with his feet suctioned on to the wall. Once he tops the fence he’s gone.
His legs plant firmly up against his father’s legs when both are riding a surfboard. When he’s skiing his legs bow slightly giving him the balance he needs as he flies down the slope faster than he ought.
My great delight is watching these legs and imagining that my legs were like that at seven. More than half way through seven they were. One night in late August, they began to have pain. By the end of the week I was in the hospital unable to walk.
Since that week, I have been constantly adjusting to how polio shaped my legs. As I went through that first week, and then that first month, and first year, I can’t remember feeling sad.
Little kids adjust. That’s the wonder of being a little kid. I can’t think of anything I haven’t adjusted to in my life because of the consequences of polio. I’ve never felt sad over having polio. I’ve adjusted so much my brain does not register the undisputed fact that I have limitations because of polio. That’s a gift nature builds into our ever flexible minds.
I enjoy watching my seven year old grandson run like the wind, climb fences and trees like he was meant to do it. I shout and clap as loud as I am capable when I see him surf. I watch clips of him skiing over and over and over again. My pleasure is so deep I have the sense I am running and climbing and surfing and skiing too.
Ah, how beautiful are his seven year old legs. Oh, that summer when my seven year old legs were like my seven year old grandson’s legs. What a moment. What pleasure. What reflection too. Yes, I admit my heart’s heavy for a moment or two.