Saturday, October 18, 2014

Counting more than steps.

I'm more than halfway through this writing challenge -- exploring old emails from a young mama me to my best girlfriend. I shared hopes, dreams and fears with my friend sending my thoughts across the web knowing that she would not judge me; knowing my deepest fears were safe with her; knowing that she would love me and more importantly love my children regardless of what I shared. 

It is no little thing that I am trusting you with the same. Thank you for joining me here.

May 10, 2000 -- "Let me give you an update on Benjamin: Since Christmas he has been experimenting with his own walker and doing remarkable. Then in late March we put wheels on the back of the walker and he has been walking independently ever since!! He is sooo proud of himself and his frustration level has decreased tremendously! He is quite adorable walking and walking and we are really focusing on transitioning in and out of the walker (he can't do that by himself yet) and working on his endurance (he gets really tired!). So this wonderful child has made huge progress in the last couple of months!"

Not so-young Mama-me can speak authoritatively about how walking is not the end-all, be-all. I can urge parents to embrace their child's abilities. I can urge them to focus on their child's strength. And I stand firm that all of those things are important.

But reading my emails takes me right back to the season when young-mama-me thought it was, thought walking meant everything as a matter of fact. Oh my heart.

Benjamin did walk with his walker. He could push it forward and then the momentum would take over and he would move to catch up. His little legs didn't always touch the ground in between steps and he was so exhausted when he reached his destination. 

But the focus in young children is walking, walking, always walking! We center so much on children walking -- it is usually the first question I was asked when they were little and I still get the question today: "Will he ever walk?"  Or more recently "Will the surgery allow him to walk?"

For some reason we equate walking with wholeness. We think that the ability to put one foot in front of the other is the pinnacle of development.

We worked hard to teach him to transition into his walker himself. One day his physical therapist had the walker right up to his stroller, with her assistance, he slid himself from the stroller seat into the little walker. But he was facing backwards. 

Physical Therapist: "Well Benjamin, what are you going to do now? How will you turn yourself around?"

Benjamin (with a huge grin): "Well, I guess I'll do the Hokey-Pokey!"

Oh dear ones, walking does not make us whole. Let's look at where our children excel -- where their strengths lie. My Benjamin does not walk at 17. But he still cracks the best jokes, is the most creative person I know, and makes me smile from ear to ear.

Can we learn to count what really counts?

Carol - The Blessings Counter