I don’t usually talk about personal family matters in my blogging. But I am making an exception in regards to my oldest son, who works in advertising as a Creative Director.
I gave birth to Jason when I was 19, and have always laughingly admitted that I grew up along with my two sons. Frankly, there wasn’t much use in telling either of them, from a very young age, what to do or think. They both had confidence in their own abilities to figure out what they wanted and the best way of getting it. Our parenting style was the sharing of ideas, skills, and strategies. If either son felt drawn to something that my husband and I had doubts about, Jason or Michael’s job was to convince us why such actions were called for. Both sons were, and are, excellent negotiators.
Fast track 40 years later to Jason’s full and creative life. He is a fascinating man: brimming with energy, ideas, humor and wicked ability in computer games. He is also dedicated to his wife and children, and it has been a real joy to see him embrace that role. He and his wife, Dayna, have built a life for themselves with the realization that not only are challenges to be expected, but they are what instigate growth and open up new possibilities.
This week, they were hit with a very sizeable challenge.
On Wednesday, November 21, Jason had a stroke.
Thank God he had it in full public view, among caring colleagues, rather than alone somewhere or on a plane or in his sleep. He was 10 minutes from St. Michael’s hospital, which offers highly specialized neurological and trauma services. He was soon joined by friends and family who are more than willing to do whatever it takes to ease his way on the road to recovery.
But the fact remains: he had a stroke, and at quite a tender age.
So what is a parent to do? Whatever we can: pick up the kids from school, sit in the room and watch him sleep, arrange pillows, pull up blankets, buy Gatorade.
I came home from the hospital and watched an interview and slideshow, followed a few links on his website. All to remind myself of the way he thinks and how very much I always enjoy being privy to his creative thought stream whenever we get together. This time, I needed Kleenex.
But as impressed as I have been with Jason’s accomplishments, I have never been more moved by his actions than this week. There have been no curses, bitter words, or wailing self pity. None. I have only heard him express gratitude for the timing of the stroke, the quality of his care, the support of people around him. He has already vowed to jump into rehabilitation, with characteristic determination, to regain his losses.
I have seen Jason pick himself up from serious tests in life before, and once again his positive, courageous approach inspires me.
My heart feels heavy with the weight of this “hit” to my son, but it is also singing because of the consummate quality of his response.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
…….~ Viktor E. Frankl