Stumbling Explanations

Recently, I had the delightful experience of having my six year old grandson read to me. He did amazingly well (I know, I’m biased). Archer is a thoughtful, perceptive and affectionate child. His parents would add “stubborn” to the descriptor list, but he’s not that way with me.

While reading , he abruptly stopped  the adventures of “Bob” and asked me why I couldn’t walk. Thrown this curveball, I gracefully tried to answer him but unfortunately pitched my words all over the place and devolved into babbling.

Finally getting a grip on the situation, I quickly reviewed in my mind what appropriate words to use to explain multiple sclerosis. Calling it a disease might scare the kid so badly I might never find out any more about Bob. Too few words or shrugging off the question would insult his intelligence.

I regrouped and casually mentioned that I had a  problem with my spine and that made my legs too weak for me to be able to stand. He understood and immediately pointed to his neck and told me that this is where the spine started, right?  I agreed and that was that. He then asked if he could have an M & M cookie ice cream sandwich. I was so relieved to have dodged that particular bullet that I would have given him two.

All this gives me an appreciation for politicians who get caught, teleprompter unplugged, and are forced to deal with unpleasant questions. I must learn to do a better two-step with my answers like them.


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