Posted by Heather Krill in Life After Paralysis on May 03, 2021
First published on the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation
One of our favorite family leisure activities is to play outside in our yard. This was one blessing of COVID stay-at-home orders from a year ago, and thankfully we had a yard to spend time in. Prior to this move, we lived in a condo complex, which we loved for the community of people, but we really lacked our own outdoor space. While there is more responsibility that comes with a home and a yard, the advantages far outweigh the work involved. ’m not sure what would have become of our active family during stay-at-home orders had we not been able to spread out and play, especially while trying to isolate.
In a recent Reeve interview for the article COVID-19 One Year Later, my husband Geoff explained what he loved about being unemployed, being stuck at home, and taking advantage of the time together as a family. Even at 51, he is very much a little boy who wants to explore, play, and spend as much time outside as possible. The play takes many forms in our family. Just last weekend, while I was on a leaf-blowing mission, our daughter found a small piece of metal sticking out from the ground near where we constructed our treehouse last summer. ne moment she was examining the crocus and daffodils coming up, and then next, Geoff had her with a shovel digging out a large egg-shaped rock, covering the piece of metal, that easily weighed more than her 70-pound frame.
“Mom,” she screamed, “I’ve found an artifact!” proud of her anthropological discovery. “Maybe it’s really old. Maybe from a family who lived here hundreds of years ago.”
Maybe. I hate to tell her that her “artifact” is a piece of scrap metal, likely from the remains of a shed that was still younger than her mother, so not really ancient. Our daughter believes she has the oldest parents in the entire fourth grade of her school. She is very much bothered by this fun fact– I say fun because we aren’t really sure it’s true or not, but I let her believe it to be so. But she is inspired by the digging, and Geoff eggs her on. Then he suggests that they use the giant rock as part of their bike jump. This is where Geoff really excels in the parenting department. Here kids, here is this idea, but I can’t physically help you to achieve it. Good luck!
“Yeah, Dad,” our son joins in, “we can just lay that piece of plywood on top and, BAM, I will be flying through the air. It will be awesome. Greta, help me roll this rock over here.” And so, they roll the rock to a more open area, add planks of wood, and get their bikes out of the garage. But then they are left with a fairly gaping hole in the ground I likely will roll an ankle in. Geoff has them fill the whole with a smaller rock and then pack it full of dirt. They are dirty and sweaty and completely happy at the moment. Of course, the moment lasts about six minutes because they are then fighting over who should film who on the trampoline first. There is scratching and yelling and crying, and like many parents in America, I put my earmuffs on and return to leaf blowing, pretending that I don’t hear a word of what is happening.
Mother’s Day is coming up. This spring, the stars may have aligned for me to have a breast reduction, a procedure I’ve wanted for myself since I was about 25 years old, but there was never a good time. While I’m still waiting on the notification that my insurance will cover it, we need to make time. I needed to make the time. There is never going to be a two-week span where my kids or husband won’t need something from me, but we have an awesome community of friends and family who will help to look after us as I heal. This is for me. This is for my quality of life.
Happy Mother’s Day to all those moms out there– those waiting to be moms, friend moms, aunt moms, moms in heaven, and moms on Earth. The moments may not all be magical, but they certainly all matter.
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 11 and almost 10, respectively. Please check out her novel True North, website www.heatherkrill.com, author FB page Heather Krill, and @heatherkrill1 on Twitter.