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Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation: March 30, 2020: “The Power of Yet”

Maine Adaptive Sports

When Geoff headed away to work this week he was very excited to be traveling to Sunday River and Sugar Loaf for Maine Adaptive Sports. Don’t get me wrong, he generally loves his career when it comes to working with athletes, teaching skiing, and helping people to reach their potential. However, he was EXTRA excited this week as he was meeting up with 26 other mono skiers. Twenty-six mono skiers at any mountain is pretty awesome. They don’t all have spinal cord injuries, but more than half certainly do, while others have double amputations, degenerative hip disorders, other nerve damage, spina bifida, etc. There is no doubt that these individuals have overcome challenges, insurmountable odds even to get back out on the hill of life, and stereotypes about what it means to be disabled. Some have boyfriend, girlfriends, husbands, wives; some have children; some are still finding their way to what they want to do with the rest of their lives. But one quality these individuals all have found, relied upon, and believed in is the power of yet. They may have been injured 35 years ago or as recently as three; yet they find themselves together on this mountain in Maine and recognize the potential of all that is YET to come even from a seated position.

This week my ninth graders were reading with their second grade reading buddies, and I was checking out their goal setting on the walls. Second grader: One skill I don’t have YET is making mac and cheese(Implied: But I’m working on it). Another second grader: One skill I don’t have YET is multiplication (Implied: But I’m working on it, and I know I’ll get there). One 45 year old writer- wife- teacher- mom: One goal I haven’t reached YET is to better balance the responsibilities of adulthood with writing another novel (Implied: But I’m working on it, and I know I’ll get there). The power of yet is everything. One senior in high school: One goal I haven’t reached yet is deciding where I’m going to college next year (Implied: But I have my pros and cons list, waiting for financial aid packages, and I’m working on it).

Even just yesterday, our ten year old son had some friends over to play after school. I overheard one of them say, “Can we use your dad’s ramp as, like, an actual ramp?” They were skateboarding, in snow pants, mind you, because late winter is tricky here in NH. We can have warmer days, but then the temperature plummets rapidly as soon as the sun goes down, and, well, there is still a lot of snow on the ground here. But the driveway is, for the first time in weeks, devoid of ice and snow completely, so of course they want to skateboard and scooter and bike. Spring is not here YET, but we feel it coming. There is a false sense of spring with these early 50 degree days of sunshine and sweatshirts and the mud that sticks to our boots. But I know it’s not quite time, yet. However, I feel the potential, the power, the pretense, however false, of spring coming, and it feels warm and good.

Geoff’s ramp from our garage into our breezeway is an actual ramp. YET, these five friends and a sister see its potential for all that it could be. I listen to them chatting, not YET afraid of mom’s ears or bothered by my presence in the driveway. “I can’t do a 360 yet on my skateboard but I can on my skis. I haven’t been to that skatepark in Plymouth, yet. Did you know they are building one in Lincoln? Yeah, I can’t wait for that to happen.” That’s the “ACTUAL” part for skateboards, scooters, and bikes. What can’t they do YET that this perfectly functional ramp can help them with by propelling their little boy bodies in the air, likely landing hard on pavement? These mono skiers, who use ramps daily just to move their bodies and wheelchairs from one level to another every day of their lives, are ripping around the state of Maine, mountains by mountains, minute by minute, discovering all that is YET to come in the moments ahead.

Heather Ehrman Krill is a writer- wife- teacher-mom who lives in the White Mountains of NH with her husband, Geoff, a paraplegic and professional skier, and their two children, Carver and Greta who are 10 and 8. Please check out her novel True North, website www.heatherkrill.com, author FB page Heather Krill, and @heatherkrill1 on Twitter.

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