When I first started writing this essay my idea was to make it a Coffee with Kev segment. Coffee with Kev are essays that I have not shared on Facebook. They go straight to the blog. I have only written a few, but I expect in the future to have many more.
Halfway through the rough draft I decide “No” this would not be a Coffee with Kev segment. I want you to know more about the “little man.” So here we go.
Camden today is September 20th, 2020, and I went on a run today. Okay, it was more of a walk/run. Okay, okay, it was more of a walk, walk, walk, short-run, walk, etc. Hey, it is a start. I cannot remember the last time I was able to get outside in my running shoes. Sometime last fall.
It has been two months since my back surgery. A month since my last surgery. I was told that I could start exercising, but not to overdo it. My physical therapist told me that I should consider choosing another excise and give up running. My surgeons P.A. told me that I could run again, but maybe I should wait a little while. So, I waited a few more days before putting on the running shoes. I always follow the medical professionals’ advice.
I wanted to run for a couple of reasons. For one I have always run, but I have not always enjoyed running. I have been in many races or just out running when I have wondered, “Kevin, WTF are you doing here?”
When it is over, I always take pride in that I was able to complete what I started.
In high school one year our cross-country coach gave me a silver bucket at the awards banquet. He gave me that bucket because I gave each race my all including my lunch.
Over the last 29 years, when able, I have run the same course around my neighborhood. I run in the grass, so I have learned where all the holes are. I did find two new ones today. Damn!
I run without a phone or music or anything else that might distract me. This is a time to think. I have written many things in my head while running. I thought of this essay today.
I will borrow a phrase my friend and great runner Tracey Repp likes to say, and I will paraphrase: We no longer race to compete. We race to complete.
I will admit that one big reason I wanted to get out there in my running shoes was because I am still competing against one foe. That foe is cancer.
I need to prove to myself that cancer will not defeat me. It is a way I show and tell myself that cancer does not define me. That will only happen if I let it. So, when the medical people tell me that maybe I should think of something else to do for exercise besides running they just do not understand.
Camden, you come from a long line of fighters. In another essay I told you about your great grandmother. How when she was seven, she walked into the kitchen and collapsed onto the floor. Polio had attacked her body. She has never walked since.
She did not give up. She fought polio, and polio has never defeated her. She has overcome so many obstacles. She persevered.
Camden, you might be asking yourself where did Papa learn such big words? Well Camden I do know a few. I am just not sure I always use them properly. That is the conundrum. Read books, Camden. Read everything. You will learn so much. Maybe even a few words.
Camden I am taking this time to tell you what motivates me. I am telling you a little about your great grandmother’s story. I am bringing these thoughts up because of your story.
What most people do not know who are reading this is that you were recently diagnosed with autism. We had suspected for some time that might be the case.
We were told that you are high functioning, and that was good. I do not yet understand how your future will look, but I know this. This diagnosis will not defeat you. You will not be defined by autism. Unless you let it.
I know that with the Heger/Brown clan in your corner that will not happen. What you need you will have. The resources out there that can help you will be used.
Your parents are great advocates for you. I worry at times that your mom worries too much and feels overwhelmed. That is when the Heger/Brown clan can be used to take the baton and run as far as needed. We are a supplement.
Everyone has their own mountains to climb in lfe. Your path might be different than others. That does not make it wrong. Simply different.
I will immerse myself in the vernacular of autism. (More big words) I will learn everything I can. We will all do that to help you grow and become a man. But for now, you just work on being the best little boy, big brother, and grandson I know. No need to rush things.
Remember Camden that autism will not defeat you nor will it define you. I plan on being around to see and help you reach your goals. But in case I am not, just remember:
Boys Are Born…Men Are Made.
Don’t let that statement make you think that one day you will automatically become a man and at that point you are done growing. Maybe physically. But not mentally and emotionally.
Being the best you can be is a never-ending process of correction and growth. People are not finished products. We are constantly evolving. So, I guess what is more accurate to say is this:
Boys Are Born…Men Are Made and Constantly Being Re-Made. That I think is good.
The mountain of autism will be climbed and conquered. During your journey, we will all become better. We will all learn. We will all grow. I will become a better person, and you, my little man, will be my teacher.