When I was a little girl, we lived on the first floor of the two family house where my grandparents still live.
I feel like it used to snow a lot more when I was younger than it does now, and I can remember watching my grandfather take his snow blower and clear out the block – both sides of the street. It was one of the many times I was amazed, at his compassion, and Christian attitude towards his neighbors. Pop was my very first lesson in how to”Pay it Forward.” Always giving with no expectation, or desire that it be recognized or returned.
The years have changed a few things, but not everything. Pop still gives whatever he can, to whomever he can, whenever he can. But, at 93 he can no longer shovel the snow. We often laugh that if that is his only restriction – he is in pretty good shape. And truly, he could put most of us half his age to shame.
It snowed in New York today. The weather forecasters didn’t have it quite right, and what first was to be major, and then not so much, seemed to fall somewhere in the middle and it lingered all day. Since the forecast is for weather in the 50s this weekend, as the day went on the snow got wetter and heavier.
I aways leave work at lunch to let my dogs out. Today the roads around my school weren’t looking so good, so I decided to chance it and leave them. They lasted until 2:45 when we got home. Meghan let them out as I began to shovel the heavy snow off our walk. One of my neighbors had left path down the sidewalk. I don’t know who, but I can make some guesses. Either way, it was the kind to remind me of my grandfather, and all the walkways he cleared when I was a kid.
I told Meghan she had to come with me to shovel at GiGi and Pop’s house. She was more than willing. As a matter of fact she was excited, and insisted she would help. Heart bursting with pride, I reminisced about my early snow shoveling days. The days I probably did more harm than good, but I felt so important – so proud to be helping. I have always been so grateful that I was allowed to help shovel at a young age. I believe it motivated me to be a bit more of a team player. Snow shoveling was always just something we all did. So – it is a natural occurrence for me, and one I am happy to share with Meghan.
My grandparents don’t live far, and they have been blessed with neighbors that always seem to help with the shoveling. Often before we have had a chance to dig out our cars to lend a helping hand, we will get a call not to worry – the neighbors did it. Of course, we still head down to do what we can, but those neighbors and their kindness have helped us on so many occasions.
So when Meghan and I arrived – my grandparents were not home. They were out at a funeral for an old friend. Meghan and I went to work. While she was working on the front of my grandparents, I began to clear the neighbors. Finally we were there first! She was confused at first, but when I explained to her how kind they are, she insisted on clearing their driveway herself. She was actually annoyed when I told her she had gone far enough.
As we got back in the car, she was chatting me up about how much “FUN” it had been to shovel. She was so genuinely excited to be helpful, and I was glad to have a helper.
But, then there was the pain. There is always the pain. The snow was heavy. Ice and slush. She persevered. Then she came home and did some homework, and had dinner. It started with the elbow. Then the knee. Darn Celebrex just can’t cover it all anymore. A rub from Daddy and a Tylenol with the nighttime pills. Hopefully she is not too stiff for her swim meet tomorrow.
My big girl. Finding her way. Strong willed and determined. Brave and in pain. Stubborn, and refusing to quit. Cowden’s Syndrome will never own her. It will never leave her, but it will not determine her movements. Tonight even through the pain there was talk of “next time when I shovel.” She keeps me motivated.
The chiropractor told me not to shovel. But that was yesterday. She also told me that the degenerating disks in my back are likely a direct result of the car accident in November. Ok, so that explains the pain. But really I will not go quietly either. Cowden’s Syndrome has created havoc in my body. But I will not retreat. Nor will I surrender.
I am leading an army of 2. We will hold each other when we need to, but we will soldier on.