Sunday, December 18, 2011

Honesty & Miracles


noun \ˈmir-i-kəl\
an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment


 noun \ˈä-nəs-tē\  
adherence to the facts

I am on the fence about miracles.  I want to believe in them. In order for miracles to exist, honesty must also be present.  I am a skeptic.

Raising a child with special needs gives you a crash course in honesty.  Honesty is can be sweet and endearing,  but it is also frequently hard on the ears and bitter on the tongue.  Honesty  requires a growing a thicker skin.  It is never easy to hear the doctor's honest predictions on what your child may or may not be expected to do in life.  Words sting like a hard slap on your cheek, but as a mother, it is your duty to separate yourself from what you want and what is.  Honesty is having strength to make the conscious decision to do the correct thing with the information you have.

I have done my best to be an honest mother.  To be anything less is a disservice to M, and to me. It is not easy. The hardest thing for me has been  to learn to receive honest information about M's development.

I reflect back to the first appointment with the neurologist, the one who said there were no guarantees that M would ever walk independently.

I reflect back when I placed the order for M's wheelchair stroller.  The sales representative told me it was an excellent model and that it would hold M until he was 100 lbs.  One hundred pounds seemed like an awfully long way off...was it true he would still need it by then?

I recall  the Early Intervention people asking me if I wanted to order a bath lift so I would not hurt my back lifting M in and out of the tub.

I remember discussing with Mr.A if we should sell our home and move to a single story home so that we wouldn't have to carry M up and down stairs.

Bitterly honest conversations.

Other parents I knew were picking out tricycles for their kids and I was picking out a wheelchair for mine.

My friends were pushing their kids in adorable Peg Perego buggies and my kid was cruising in a Convaid.  They were able to gush over the fancy extras like the cup holder and extra large storage basket on their stroller.  I suppose I could gush that mine was "school bus ready" and complete with tie-downs, so when M went off to school we could just roll him right onto the short bus.  Oh goodie.

Other parents were enrolling their kids in swim lessons and I was contemplating ordering a bath lift for safe bathing.  Yep, it sucked.

At nearly three and a half years old, M was still not walking.  Progress was painfully slow and both M and I were growing weary of the therapy sessions.We'd had success in therapy in getting M to stand.  The therapist and I would lift him up and place him in standing position, making sure that his ankles, knees and hips were all in proper position.  We'd help him steady himself and then we'd let go. We'd count the seconds he was able to stay his legs would give out and he'd collapse.  It wasn't just an issue with strength, there was also concern that M seemed unable to balance himself.  We did have one session of great success where we were able to get M into standing and he stayed upright long enough to manage a single step.

One particular day, M's physical therapist had come to our home to work with him. Before we got to work with M, I got out my laptop so I could show the PT a video I had found about a little girl, Teya, who had learned to walk independently at the age of seven.  The video is amazing.  The song, "Better Days", plays in the background.  To this day, whenever I hear that song, I get a little teary.

The PT and I sat on the floor and watched the video together.  M was standing against the couch next to us.

And then, out of the blue, M walked five feet to another couch.  Just. Like. That.

And then he did it again. And again. And again. And yet again.

The PT exclaimed, "When did he start this??!!"
Umm....just now.

He walked!  By himself!  I had a witness!  A professional witness!

I called Mr. A and told him that he needed to come home right away because M was walking.  I could hear the doubt in his voice.  He must have thought I'd lost my mind. I kept M walking between couches until Mr. A got home, so fearful that if we stopped, the moment would pass and M would not walk again.  He did continue to walk. In the weeks that followed, five steps became ten.  Ten became twenty.  Finally, there were so many steps that I stopped counting them.

Just maybe, this is my miracle.  I chose to believe it is.

Here is the link to the video we were watching that day.:

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