I start to walk slowly towards Nolan with a mischievous face. "What are you doing?" he asks, unsure of what's going on.
"I'm just…trying… (as Nolan skulks away) ...to tickle you!!".
Nolan screams, I laugh, and he quickly moves away from me. And so begins the game of cat and mouse. Our house, like many 1950s houses (or at least like the 1950s house I grew up in) has the staircase right in the middle of the house, meaning it leaves a continuous square to run around it - perfect for chasing. When I was a kid I would chase my dog around the stairs for laps, and often Nolan and I do the same.
Each time I double back and catch Nolan in the opposite direction he was expecting, Asher squeals with delight. He is as happy as if I'm chasing him.
"Mama, will you chase me?" he asks with a huge grin.
I pause, but only to gather my thoughts. Saying something like "I can't chase you Asher" is not an option, but things are complicated by the fact that I am the only adult home, meaning I'd have to do both the pushing and the chasing. Just as I quickly realize Nolan can probably push Asher while I chase both of them, Asher pipes up again, with just as big a smile on his face.
"Mama, I MEAN, can you push me and we both chase Nolan?".
I do, immediately, so as to not lose the momentum of the fun we're having. But while I push Asher and both boys continue to laugh, all I can think of is he just gets it.
Maybe when he first asked me to chase him, he forgot for a split second that he couldn't get up and run away from me. But if that was the case, he quickly figured out another option.
Or…maybe he really didn't mean to ask to be chased in the first place, and he did just want to chase Nolan.
Whatever the reason, his rephrasing of the request was not accompanied by sadness. There was no feeling sorry for himself. Chasing Nolan, as opposed to being chased himself, was not a consolation prize. It's just the way it is. Asher needing mama to push his chair to chase Nolan is his normal, nothing sad about it.
Sometimes I question why Asher doesn't ask much (if at all) about his disability, and I wonder if we should be talking more about it with him. And then something like this happens and I trust in the fact that Asher is an enlightened soul who - let me repeat - just gets it.
The wisdom that lies innately within this boy astounds me sometimes. I'm so glad I have him to look up to.