Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Great Race

 The Great Race

March 27th, 2010 by Elizabeth Yank

Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are quite the experience, not so much for me as for those watching me. Really, they are not looking at me so much as they are looking at my three-year-old twin nephews.

What’s so interesting? At the present time, I am taking my nephews to speech therapy at a local Catholic hospital. The parking facility is next to the hospital, which means that we usually drive up to the fourth floor next to the elevator so that we don’t have to cross much traffic. After disembarking from the car, the twins burst forth, racing to the building. In fact, that is just the beginning of the Great Race.

Since it is winter, they are bundled in bulky, winter jackets with warm, woolen caps, but that does not deter them. Once inside the building, they compete to be the first to push the elevator button. Lately, Michael has decided elevators are scary. Before crossing the threshold, he hesitates, looking down the elevator shaft, and quickly hops across the crack before he runs to the back of the elevator.

The competition between twin boys does not end. Who would have thought it would begin so young? Who is the first in the building? Who is the first to press the button calling the elevator? Who is the first to press the button for the floor? Quick cover the alarm bell before they press that!

Once inside, we count the floors down. As soon as the door slides open, they burst forth and bolt down the hall. They are on a quest, a mission: who will be the first to press the handicap button that opens the next door. Gabriel takes the lead. I can hardly keep up. He smacks the button and yells his self-congratulatory, “Yeah!” as he turns around looking for affirmation. With the doors magically opened, his self-praise reaffirmed by my “Good job!” he smiles a beaming smile and races on with his brother, Michael trailing close behind.

On to the next goal: after dashing down a long sidewalk they  pause in front of the sliding doors with a cursory glance behind to see if my daughter and I are close behind before they enter. The valet service greets everyone with a cheerful, “Good Morning,” as they head on to the giant revolving doors with me a few paces behind. “Good Morning,” I reply.

While they are trapped together for a few moments, Michael wants to explore the door, trapping us inside. “Just keep walking.” As soon as the door allows, Gabriel explodes out. With giggles, smiles and legs churning with energy, they whisk past the information desk. “Good morning,” I reply back to the two ladies.

The boys charge past admitting, the coffee shop, the lab, the gift shop, the pharmacy, and more — their energy is not lagging. They turn left, right, and dash down the corridor, never stopping, always giggling, Michael wobbling. They turn right again on to their next destination and wait at the elevator.

You would think that people would be irritated by their rambunctious behavior. On the contrary, people smile in amazement. “Oh, two,” is the often heard comment. Most likely, they are happy to have a digression from thinking about where they are. After all, who is overjoyed to have a blood test, x-ray, or MRI? I’m guessing most people are not there for the joy of seeing a newborn or some other happy event. They would probably rather be anywhere than the hospital. Many are half-asleep in the admitting area early in the morning when this sudden burst of whirlwind giggles comes tearing through.

We are not done with our journey yet. They vie once more to push the up button. Michael hops over the crack and scampers to the back. Then we count the floors as the numbers light up. Once on the seventh floor, we go around the corner to the waiting area, our maze completed. They even compete to see who will shed his jacket first and who will be the first to the push the beads across the wires on the toy.

What’s most amazing about the reaction the boys receive is the smiles they elicit from others. They bring unexpected joy and delight to others. Their mother chose life for them. If I were to relate the circumstances surrounding their mother’s health and living situation, in a cold, impersonal, Planned Parenthood world, more than one person would have advised this mother to have had an abortion. Life, however, may not be perfect, but it is beautiful. For right now, I don’t need to join the Fitness Center; I get my workout every Tuesday and Wednesday with the Great Race.

Published by Catholic Exchange

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