Friday, April 1, 2011

Exceeding expectations...

The developmental pediatrician that diagnosed my boys with Cerebral Palsy had NO bedside manner. He also lacked tact, compassion and pretty much any social skills whatsoever.

Thirteen years later, the memory of that morning is still seared into my brain. We were his first appointments of the day. I had two almost-one-year-olds in my arms. My Benjamin was running a high temperature. The doctor showed up 90 minutes late. For his FIRST appointment of the day. My boys were already exhausted.

Without so much as touching my boys, he turned to Wade and I and said, "Of course, your boys have Cerebral Palsy. What did you expect me to tell you today?"

I began to do what my Mommy-heart told me to do....explain. I told him about B's upcoming eye surgery and how his physical therapists really felt he would begin reaching developmental milestones once his vision was corrected.

With a sigh, Dr. No-compassion looked at me and said, "Ma'am, I have seen blind babies with more head control than your son has."

And again, I did what my Mommy-heart told me to do. I cuddled my beloved son closer to my heart, and closed my mouth.

Leaving his office, I had far more questions than answers. But I knew two very important things:

1. My precious boys were no different than before the appointment. No matter what labels we had received.

2. My job as their Mommy had not changed in the least. My job before the appointment and after -- and today -- remains to prepare them, encourage them and clear the path for them to reach their full potential whatever that may be and through it all to be bring glory to God!

The years since the appointment have not been all happy thoughts and platitudes. No, rather they have been years of hoping, praying and hyper-analyzing each development. They have been years full of therapies, surgeries, orthotics, walkers, crutches and wheelchairs. There have been tear-filled I.E.P. meetings, laughter-filled I.E.P. meetings and ultimately a decision to home school.

But through it all, I have prayed that all the things Wade and I are choosing will ultimately be preparing them to advocate for themselves, to articulate their needs and to help others see past their Cerebral Palsy.

Yesterday, I had a glimpse that at almost-14-years-old, they are doing exactly that.

Walking onto campus with Uncle Len.

My brother, Len, asked if he could interview them in front of his college special education class as part of a group project. They agreed to help their dear uncle.  We all knew they would do their best. No one expected them to be as absolutely outstanding as they were!

A sign of things to come? Mason running for student body president? I know he can!!

They were poised. They were articulate. They made some of the class cry. And they earned their uncle an A!

But most importantly, they showed that they are so full of abilities -- so full -- that those far outweigh any dis-abilities associated with their Cerebral Palsy.

You can click right here to see the interview. I am biased. I am. But I really think it is worth your time.

Benjamin and Claire enjoying their post-lecture smoothies! (And being a little silly!)
Cate celebrating making it through her first college class!

Oh, I am blessed.


The Halenkamps said...

I have such a similar story. Even though my "professionals" were trying to be thoughtful and caring, they told me to think of Matt as an alien in another world - that he would never understand us and the world we live in and his prognosis was unknown. I still have your e-mail that helped me through that very hard time. I have it memorized and think of it when it has been a difficult day. Thank you for that Carol - you are truly an inspirational mom. I have found that my boys with autism are the greatest blessing I could have ever received. They have made me a better person and saved my life from being uninspired. I appreciate every moment good or bad. I stop to smell the roses - and cherish every second. Your boys are beautiful.

LuEllen said...

Bill and I watched the boys talk the other night after you posted it on FB. I was totally amazed. Their ability to express themselves and eloquently express their ideas exceeds just about any 14-year-old boy I know. I was so impressed with them and it gave me that tiny glimpse of my awesome friend who has become an awesome mom. I can't wait to see what your children become....already touching peoples' lives and changing peoples' hearts. I love you!

Hoekzema said...

I am just so impressed that they can go into a college classroom with such ease and poise. I thought being in front of the classroom while IN college was difficult, I couldn't imagine doing that at 13 with such confidence! Well done boys!! Also kudos to Mom and Dad for raising such amazing children!

Your style is your signature said...

Hello..I am writing from Turkey ,I just realized your blog and wanted o tell you that you are an amazing ,caring mother! ( I am sure his should be the millionth of someone telling you that!) Your children should be so proud of having you as a mother..Your story is like giving everyone a lesson on not losing their hope..Thank you so much for sharing your story &feelings with us and let us understand you&your family.