Roa has that way about him. Roa draws people in.
Last weekend we ventured on a family outing to Forest Lake, MN. This quaint, little town has a lakeside park with playground, boat dock, and sandy beach. It was the perfect Memorial Day setting.
Like always, we were well-equipped with wheelchair, stroller, and gait trainer in tow. Never know what we will need. Of course, when we let Roa decide his wheels-of-choice, he chooses the gait trainer. His favorite mode of independence.
So we set out, Gunnar trucking it across the park lawn towards the ever-favorite swing set, Mom scurrying behind, Roa giggling and taking off with the awkward, straigth-legged gait of limbs just waking, and Dad calmly steering the GT.
Same basic scenario that we are used too. But to others, we are a sight to be seen. As I shuffle after Gunnar, listening to the yelling, cooing, laughing of Rojo behind, I realize it is necessary to put up the shield of tolerance. We, humans, fear the unknown. We can't help but gaze longly at differences. It is one of those moments when I knew to instantly activate the shield and continue being Mom-Ignore the stares, the stop-in-your-tracks-reactions, the What is that? questions of children to their Hushing parents. That is just a day in the life we lead.
As is also typical, it is Bryan's turn to be down. It is oddly comforting to know that God has granted us the ability to off-set each other. When Mom is sad, Dad is optimistic. When Dad feels anger, Mom is calm. When Mom doesn't know if she can leave the house that day, Dad encourages and steer our ship forward. It is one of God's graces, to say the least.
So Bryan is with Roa, walking down the dock, across the beach, into the lakes sandy edge. Even though he would like to just blend in and be another dad with a curious little boy, that is impossible. They just stand out. He is questioned and pointed at.
As I chase Gunnar around the park gazebo, I watch a a small circle is formed around Roa and Dad. Curious, I urge Gunnar forward towards them.
The sight before me is one I can only try and explain...but picture this...
Roa in his gait trainer, Bryan crouched beside him. To his left, a large man with Mr. Clean-shaven head, dark beard, and arms full of tattoos approaches. Beside the tough biker is his significant other- long brown hair, shades and tank top. On the other side of Roa is the Lady Leader, arms filled with roses. By her side, her teenage daughter, shy and sweet.
I refer to her as the Lady Leader because she is leading them in prayer. This small group of worshippers is surrounding my son with something much stronger than my shield of tolerance. It is the shield of faith.
Roa glances up at me with the side wise grin of "Gosh Mom, I can't help it",as Gunnar and I approach. Bryan gives me a sad, peaceful look that says, "Yep, this is what I needed today".
I can only look on in wordless awe, as the Leader Lady hands me a rose and says, "Bless you".
You see, God has a way of placing unexpected angels in unlikely places to keep you going forth in this battle against CP. Our day of swings, walks, and picnics was replaced by tattoos, roses, and prayers.
But we are fine with that.
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