Monday, August 11, 2008


How often do you go unnoticed? I'm not referring to the missing accolades you may think you're entitled after a job well-done. I mean, in how many situations are your silent gestures the most heroic?
This summer has been a string of silent, heroic gestures that have shook me to my core. Including one, that in it's pedestrian simplicity warmed my heart. But first, the major, complicated, scary heroics of a handsome, young man named after a city with soul -- Austin.

This member of my family has risen to his calling. In July he bravely underwent a series of heart surgeries -- you know, like crack open your chest and fiddle with the innards -- and he is but 15 years old. To be 15 is to be awkwardly stuck between temper tantrums and cognoscitive powers. Plainly put, you know enough to be afraid. But he did not melt into fearful rampages. Instead, he drank from his cup and endured. Over. And. Over. And. Over. Again. His brio buoyed his family, in fact all of us floated on the hope of his silent stature.

Recovery and adjusting to his new future will be a long road for him. Something most people he encounters will never notice. Which brings me to a pair of wet shorts.

We don't need human experience that is drastic, mortally intense, or even serious to learn the importance of going unnoticed (thank goodness). You could, for instance, sit in some root beer and not complain.

Coop attended yet another birthday party. The guests included boys and girls (among them two of his love interests) and he ended up at a table with three girls. He didn't complain even though I know he was watching the other boys at the other table. Then -- as always happens in a group of too many toddlers -- someone upturned their root beer. It spilled across the table and splashed on the little girl sitting next to Coop.

She was literally hysterical. There wasn't much wet -- that I could see -- but this girl cried enough to sink the Titanic. Cooper watched in silence as a few grown-ups rushed to her aid, cleaned her up, and even offered her a bigger piece of cake than the other kids. This was the last event of the party, so following cake Cooper politely thanked the hostess, hugged the birthday girl, and marched his way home while outlining to me the highlights of the party.

When we got home Cooper asked to change his shorts. Only after he did, did I realize why. His shorts and underwear were soaked through with the root beer. In the tip-over incident he had actually received the majority of the muddle. But he hadn't complained, cried, or even said a word.

Obviously, heart surgery and a soggy bottom hold nothing in common -- either in experience or magnitude. But they both prove why women always fall for the strong, silent type.


Anonymous said...

I hope things get easier for Austin, he and his parents ill be in my thoughts.

laurel said...

Wonderful. Beautiful. Two great men. Two boys to be grateful for. I read the other day, "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It is about learning to dance in the rain." I think our boys have done just that.

Claudia said...

Another wonderful post. Thanks for your thoughts, and for your excellent example (as well as Laurel's!) of being a great mother. Because we all know that these boys wouldn't be half as wonderful as they are if they didn't have incredible mothers.

Elle said...

*sniff* you made my eyes water, and then you made me smile.

lynnie said...

Austin is so brave !!! He looks pretty darn good in this picture, hopefully he is on the up-swing. Things like this really help you to have a new perspective on life!

Glenda said...

Although it is very hard for a grandma to realize her first grandbaby is growing up so fast, it is wonderful to realize he is doing it so well!
Kudos to Coop....and hats off to Austin.

grandma GiGI said...

This entry would make a wonderful childrens book with a powerful message. Go for it! (Don't we have wonderful grandchildren and great-grandchildren?)