Posts Tagged ‘Fatherhood’

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Movin’ On Down

March 12, 2010
The best lil' partner out there

My Lil' Partner and I

When Kolette and I thought about having a baby in the years BC (Before Cole) I was filled with concern about what role I’d be able to play.  If you follow the blog at all you know that we’ve been able to do things I never thought possible.

Just this morning we worked our way through another obstacle.

Coleman loves to ride around on my lap.  The problem is each ride means someone (usually Kolette) has to lift Cole up on to my lap, and then help him off when we’re finished.  Well we haven’t figured out how to get him up on my lap yet (although Cole’s REALLY trying), but when it comes to getting him off my chair and on to the ground–check.

We’ve been working on this for a little while, and today it all clicked.  Check out the video below, and prepare to be amazed – for I am.  I am continually amazed at the way Cole, Ko and I figure out work-arounds. Videos like this are precious to me. I watch them over and over and every time my heart is filled with love.

For, it’s quite a thing to watch my lil’ partner work hard so I can be more involved in his big ol’ life

Jh-

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Surprises On Both Sides

December 2, 2009

Some friends of ours came to the house to see Coleman the other day.  Our friends have gotten to that point where they don’t even pretend to be there to see us.  All pretense is gone.   They’re there to see Cole and if we happen to be there then its just icing on the cake.

But during all the oohhing and ahhing, over Cole (they hadn’t seen him in months) one of them turned to me and asked how the whole fatherhood experience has been in comparison to what I’d expected.  In my answer, I began to think about what has been easier than I anticipated and what’s been more difficult.

Easier:

  • Holding—I’ve been able to hold him far more than I expected.  Cole’s temperament has been a big player here, and it’s been a little gift from heaven.  From the very beginning, Coleman’s always has been calm in my arms. Whether it was letting me feed and burp him in the beginning to being able to cruise around in my chair with him on my lap, or in my arm, my ability to hold my boy has far surpassed my wildest dreams.

  • Feeding—From the bottle through to our current Gerber/Table food stage, I’ve been able to feed Coleman.  I was sure that this was going to be something that only Kolette was going to be a part of.  However, it’s been something that I’ve done nearly every day.  Whether it’s been throwin’ some formula down his gullet (thanks Boppy), or slingin’ some sweet potatoes into his mouth, I’ve managed to feed Cole nearly every day—at least once. I’ve been able to hold a bottle, hold the container of baby food, and work the spoon.  It’s been a huge help that Coleman sits in his High Chair with his arms down and mouth open wide—but, as a quadriplegic, I never expected to be a part of that part of his young life.

  • Playing—I felt sure that I’d be able to play with Cole, but I thought I’d have to wait until he was older to really “get involved wit it.”  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  We’ve figured our all kinds of things, from throwing him around while I’m lying in bed to playing games after he eats.  We’ve used toothbrushes, cups, pretzels, wooden spoons, and anything else we could think of.  One of the real joys of my life has been playing with my buddy.

More Difficult:

  • Picking Him Up—It’s been hard from the day he was born to the day I write this post to watch him need to be lifted off the floor, out of his crib, from his High Chair, or up from his playpen.  It kills me.  I watch my boy need help and I can’t help him.  It definitely makes me feel helpless.

  • Getting Down on the Ground—If I had ten minutes out of my chair, there’s no question that much of that time would be spent playing with Coleman down on his level.  I watch others do it, and it’s different than having him on my lap.  I love the time I get face to face, but it’s on the counter or in bed.  As I watch him play, it’s easy to tell it’s different when it’s down in his environment—on his terms.  How I’d love to play with his stuff, at his height with no distractions, no counter top, no moving wheelchair—a just me and my boy.

  • Not Being Able to Watch Him Alone—Kolette and I have been able to make it so I can keep a monitor and watch over him while he naps, but if he wakes up, have to have someone to call to come take over.  Kolette works so hard, and when she has to be somewhere else, I’d love to be able to care for him all on my own.  It may not seem like much, but I’m his Dad and look forward to the time that the two of us can stand on our own two feet.

Now, before anyone feels bad, or wants me to look on the bright side, understand this—I am richly blessed. I have more and do more than I ever expected to have or do, before I had my accident. After all my injuries, I realize that I am one of the few that is lucky enough to say that I am married to my best friend and have a champ of a boy for a son.  I love my life—every single minute of it.

But, like every life there are things that are easy and things that are hard.  I think everyone goes into this fatherhood thing blind, but, because of my unique situation, I believe I went in blinder than most.  I therefore thought that it might be interesting to evaluate the good and the bad.  And, I have to say; I was surprised at some of my feelings on both sides.

However, thinking through all of this did bring me to a few undeniable conclusions.

First, I have a saint for a wife.  The majority of the things I’ve figured out to do have been because she was helping me think through them, both to find the answers, and support me through the learning curve.  She is definitely of the “If at first you don’t succeed” camp, and that has blessed my life as much as it has Coleman’s.

Second, a little patience goes a long way.  There are so many things we’ve figured out that we wouldn’t have if we had given up the first go ‘round. I’m grateful for patience.  It’s given me the chance to learn so much more about what I can and can’t do.

Finally, I can’t wait to see what the future holds.  I know there will be somethings that will surprise me and be easier than I think, and some that will disappoint and be more difficult.  But, so far it’s been the journey that’s brought the joy, and I can’t wait to see what’s around the next bend.

Jh-

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Sittin’ Up & Flyin’ High

September 2, 2009

Floor Time

A little over a week ago, Coleman started sitting up.  It started with Kolette putting him in the right position and him more “leaning with help” than actually sitting.  It wasn’t long though until that “leaning with help” turned into “sitting with help.”

Then, just like so many other things, one day he woke up and had it. We still had to be close by to make sure he didn’t fall, or place the Boppy around him so if he did fall, it’d be on something soft that could break his fall. That Boppy, is there anything it can’t do?

Anyhow, watching him sit there I got an idea.

One of the most difficult things about being the father of a baby while confined to a wheelchair, is watching all the people who love Cole so much playing with him down on the carpet on his level. Sometimes it really makes my heart ache not to be able to be right down there wrestling, playing, or just laying with my boy on his turf.

When he was younger, and a lot less mobile, he would lay over my shoulder, or on my chest and it could fulfil my need to be close to him.  Now, he’s moving around like a whirling dervish, and when I hold him over my shoulder he’s looking back and forth so much it is often difficult to get any “face to face” time.

With my heart yearning to get the carpet feel with Cole, I watched him sit up.  The more stable he became the more courage I gained and finally got the stregnth–the intestinal fortitude if you will–to try this idea I’d been cooking up.  It wasn’t a groundbreaking idea by any stretch of the imagination, but it was an idea that had a profound effect on our lives

I had Kolette sit him up on our countertop and I wrapped my arms around his little bottom to keep him from falling backwards on the granite.  Coleman was a little pensive at first, not quite sure about sitting on the cold rock instead of the warm carpet, and a little nervous about the height.

Those concerns quickly passed, he looked at me, and then there we were.  Face to face just as if we were laying on the carpet together.  It was magical. We laughed together, played together, and sang together–never forgetting to grunt, growl and shout to profess our manhood; all separated by inches instead of feet.

I loved every minute of it. I kept him up there until he was so tired that he looked like he was going to fall asleep sitting up.

Cole on Counter

When we decided to have Cole, I knew that there were going to be lots of things I wasn’t going to be able to do. I knew I was going to have to count on his Grandpa Hall to teach him to golf, his Grandpa Coleman to teach him how to throw a baseball.  I knew his uncles would have to be involved. Uncle Nate would have to show him how to stif-arm his opponent, Uncle Clint would be in charge of teaching him how to catch a football, and Uncle Brandon would oversee lacrosse instruction.

What I’ve found however, is that the best times are those where we figure out a way around, beat the system, and do it on our own.  I love my boy so much. I know it’ll be a long time before I forget that first day on the countertop where he was sittin’ up and I was flyin’ high.

Jh-

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My First Father’s Day

June 21, 2009
My dad "lifted me up" even in my earliest days.

My dad "lifted me up" even in my earliest days.

After living for 38 years (being married nearly 17 of them) today is my very first Father’s Day. On the 27th of January little Coleman became a part of my life. I can, without any doubt or the least bit of reservation say that, other than my faith, and my marriage to Kolette, his birth is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.

Last night, as I laid in my bed thinking about this first Father’s Day of mine, I began to reflect on my own father and the impact he’s had on my life.

Throughout my entire life I have always only had one hero; and that has been my dad.

He is the ultimate motivator. He believes in you no matter what. Even if you’re unsure your ready to believe in yourself–he believes in you. He’s the ultimate optimist. He never sees the glass half empty. In fact I believe that if you were to show him a glass with just a little condensation inside he would find a way to tell you that it’s half-full, and do it with such passion that at the end of the conversation you’d be sure that he was right.

He loves people, and because he does, people love him. There’s some people in this world that others just take to. They just have a certain way about them. People who meet my dad love him–I’m not even sure they can always tell you why, but they do love him.

He’s a man with conviction, who is rich in spirituality, and carries with him a deep love for his Savior.

As I reflected on all the ways that my dad has been there for me and influenced who I am, I began to have and increased desire to have that same kind of influence and provide the same kind of safety to Coleman.

I don’t know I have it in me. I have enormous shoes to fill. I don’t know if I can be the same kind of man that my dad is. But, I’m not sure it matters.

Because, what I do know is this. I want to follow my dad’s example. I want to give everything I have to my son. I want to inspire him for good. I want to motivate him to be his best, and I want to believe in him even when he might not believe in himself.

grandpa hall

Grandpa Hall

At the end of the night what I realized, is that Coleman is a very lucky boy. Not so much because of the father he ended up with. But for the example his grandfather set for his  father.

I love you Coleman. Everything I have is yours. Thanks for making June 21st 2009 a day I will never forget.

Jh-

Me & My Boy

Me & My Boy

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Heroes

January 7, 2009

Growing up it seemed like at least once a school year every teacher assigned us to write a paper about our hero. It could be anyone that we looked up to. No matter the grade, as soon as the project was assigned the room would become a buzz of excitement and intrigue. Everyone would begin talking about the person they would write about that year.

As you might imagine, in earlier grades students heroes were far more general in description. Doctors, nurses, firemen and ballerinas were the protagonists of the papers. Many times not for any reason other than the fact that a first grader wanted some day be the profession they chose as their hero.

As the years passed the heroes became grossly much more specific. NFL quarterbacks, movie and TV stars, CEOs, and fashion models begin to become the topics of the assignment. They weren’t referred to now by profession as much as they were by name. For example, their heroes weren’t so much NFL quarterbacks in general as much as they were Roger Staubach or Terry Bradshaw specifically.

It wasn’t long after that my classmates became interested in music. All of a sudden everyone’s hero was the front man for their favorite band. I remember as a 7th grader when the teacher went through the papers 90% of the kids said their hero was either Eddie Van Halen (guitarist for Van Halen) or Valerie Bertinelli (the woman married to Eddie Van Halen). It was obviously a big year for Van Halen.

I always received this assignment little differently. For me, this was the easiest assignment of the year. I knew who my hero was and I knew exactly what I admired about him. There was never much to think about, for in my life although I have had many people I’ve looked up to, I’ve only had one hero–my dad.

From the first grade all the way through junior high I would simply put together a new paper on Stephen J. Hall. I don’t ever remember a time in my life when he wasn’t the man I wanted to be. I have always known that my life would be a success if it simply resembled his.

As I wait now for this little boy to come in my life, I can only hope that he feels in some way the same way I feel about my father. I don’t need to be his only hero. There are plenty of good examples out there for him to want to model his life after. I do however hope that he looks at the life I have lived with integrity and pride.

It’s interesting, as his birth gets closer and closer I find that I don’t much care if he looks at me and sees a man of wealth, or a life filled with distinctions and honors. But, I do hope that he sees me as richly blessed. I hope he looks at my life and sees one lived with distinction and filled with honor.

I hope that I can live my life in such a way that Cole will look to me as a good man; a righteous man. I hope that he will see in me a man who is kind and thinks of others. I hope that he will want to treat the young women he associates with properly because of the way he’s seen me treat his mother. I hope that he’ll want to work hard because he’s seen me put 100% into anything I try to do.

More than anything I hope that I can set the example for my son that my father set for me.

Jh-

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Man On The Inside

January 1, 2009

On 11 June 2008, my wife Kolette and I found ourselves huddled around an iPhone in a hallway waiting for Dr. Heiner from the Reproductive Care Center to tell us whether or not our second in vitro procedure had been a success. Just like any other couple waiting for such news our hearts were in our throats and we could hardly breathe. For, unlike many other couples we had waited 16 years to finally have a chance to have a child.

I am a quadriplegic and have been since I was 15. We knew that the prospects of having children were greatly diminished because of my medical condition when we got married. But, what we didn’t know was that five years into marriage I would be involved in a serious car accident. What we never would have dreamed, was that I would be hospitalized for 13 months after the car accident and in and out of the hospital having surgery and therapy for the following 10 years. That’s 11 years altogether.

But there we were waiting. Waiting to find out if the waiting was over. You can imagine the excitement and joy we both felt when Dr. Heiner let us know that Kolette was pregnant. There are people in the world who will tell you the miracles don’t happen. That day proved otherwise, that day proved that miracles are not just remnants of the past but a piece and part of our lives today.

This has been the most rare and incredible event to occur in my life. In so many ways this miracle just should not be. But but that’s why they call them miracles. As a C5-C6 quadriplegic my chances to have children that are genetically mine barely exists at all.

In this blog you’ll find my hopes and dreams along with my doubts and fears. You’ll find laughter and tears. You’ll find things that are funny and things that are sad. You may find things that are little odd and sometimes confusing. You’ll find the ridiculous, the sublime and everything in between. Some of it will be experiences that happen, some will be the feelings of my heart, but it will all be real–my real thoughts and emotions as I begin this next chapter in my life.

From the early days of this pregnancy I have referred to my unborn son (Cole) as, “My man on the inside.” With that in mind, I decided to name the blog “Man On The Inside.” For, here you will not only read what happens as my son and I go through this journey together, but you’ll get a look into my innermost feelings and emotions as well. It will truly be a look inside; inside our relationship and inside me.

So, watch as Cole and I experience this new life together. I’m not exactly sure where this ride will take us, but if we both hold on I know it will be a journey we will never forget.

Jh-

PS For those of you who enjoy the motivational stories and insights you find on The Champion Inside, don’t worry I’ll still be posting there as well. Just click here or go to www.jasonhall.com