I was very patient and tried to show Mike things. No matter how methodical I was, no matter how correctly I followed the rules of teaching, he would not learn. There he was, in front of me. I would try to look into his eyes, but he was never still and would always shake his head this way and that and try to get away.

I tried continued repetition, like what Dad used to do: Show him how; walk him through it; hold his hand after forming his spastic fingers around the spoon; get some soup with it; bring it to his mouth. “Now you do it,” I would tell him. I put down the spoon and tell him again, hovering about in a hyper-aware state, looking for a tell-tale sign that he was going to grab the bowl and slurp it down. That was inevitable. I think that I used to do that, but I can’t remember exactly. I may have been watching Dad do it.

I do remember being asked to keep an eye on him and wanting to do my best with my charge. He would not get away from me. I stayed very close to him, like a prison guard. Sometimes I tried to stop him from biting himself. I used all my strength, not knowing how much would be enough, hoping that if I used too much, a little extra might carry over to stop him the next time. Sometimes when I played with him, I decided that this would be the time he would learn. How proud Mom and Dad would be of me. Recognition for doing a wonderful job would be reward enough. But Mike never learned on my watch, or anybody’s watch.

2 thoughts on “Patience

  1. If you were my son I would be very proud of you. I’m positive your mom and dad are too. You all love Mike and though he might not be able to show it I’m certain he would if he could.

    • Thank you very much, Milo, for your kind words. I know that nobody could make a breakthrough with my brother. I struggle to know the unknowable about him, but happy endings seem to be in the realm of imagination. I am thankful that he is well taken care of today. Thanks again.

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