As hard as it is to believe, it has been nearly ten years since my son, Jeff, graduated from College! He is married now, with a family all his own. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about the powerful influence he has had on my life ever since he was born, but especially from the age of four which is when I had two spinal surgeries within 24 hours. The surgeries left me paralyzed from the shoulders down; all I could do was shrug my shoulders.
That’s when Jeffrey, age four, charged himself with the mission of helping me get better by helping me (literally!) with my physical and occupational therapy.
After my discharge from the rehab hospital, I had therapists come to my house during the day. Once I returned to work, they would come after their workday (and mine) was done. Jeffrey would watch quietly while the therapists showed us different exercises. Once they left, Jeff remembered all the exercises and helped me with each one. He would patiently work with me on each exercise until I was able to do at least some of it on my own at which time he would change roles and become my cheerleader! I can hear him as if it were yesterday, “Yay! Mommy you’re doing it! You’re doing it all by yourself!”
Those words did more to lift my spirits and increase and intensify my determination to work as hard and as long as was necessary to get as much return as possible. A child’s faith is unlike any other; it is unfailing in its sincerity and in its completeness; it’s depths are inmeasurable. Jeffrey’s faith in me and his words of encouragement helped me to achieve goals that the doctors in the rehab hospital told me were out of the realm of possibility. Even today, as I think back,to what a little boy did for his mom brings me to the verge of tears but it also brings a smile to my face!
Those days bonded us like nothing else could; but as he grew up, he also helped me overcome both physical and attiudinal obstacles that I faced from time to time (and sometimes, day to day)!
Three years after my return to work and when I was driving again, he would sometimes go food shopping with me. He helped me get things from the lowest shelves or wherever I couldn’t easily reach. We made it fun and he got to pick a special dessert—usually chocolate pudding-- which we made when we got home.
These are such fond—and fun—memories, reinforcing my belief that good can (and does) come from bad, leading me to ask the question that remains, the one that is the title to this blog: How do you repay kindnesses? How do you repay acts of selflessness? Or more directly, CAN you possibly repay such a debt?
Is it with gifts? Can a tangible gift actually repay someone for their generosity of spirit?
The former can never truly be made to be the equivalent to the latter. But that didn’t stop my husband, Walter, and I from trying!
To read about what we did and Jeffrey’s response to our plan in my companion story, “Paid In Full”. The link is:
©2013 REEVE FOUNDATION |