Monday, November 24, 2014

Somedays we kick Cerebral Palsy to the curb.

The gym where Mason took gymnastics was outside of our little town. The coach was a high-energy woman passionate about helping as many people as possible enjoy her sport. The local paper ran an article about her willingness to teach a class for children with special needs. I signed my little three-year-old up the following morning.

Mason's class -- there were four precious students-- held an exhibition at the end of the first semester. The bleachers were filled with not just family members for these little athletes but also family members attending practices for the other classes. I remember it like it was yesterday. The wind was blowing outside on a cold December-in-Minnesota day but the warmth of that gym was something I have never forgotten.

Appropriate this week -- 3-year-old Mason with the Egg Bowl trophy at MSU!

Mason was the smallest of the group. When he walked forward to receive his medal, the crowd erupted with cheers -- and I began to cry uncontrollable. I couldn't stop. I was just at the point of a big huge ugly cry when I was able to catch my breath and pull myself together.

My heart was filled to bursting. I was so proud of this little boy for overcoming his physical challenges to walk on the balance beam and to pull himself up on the bars. I was so grateful for his coach. And I was so humbled by the love the crowd was giving him.

Fourteen years later, I think I get it. I think I know why I was compelled to cry uncontrollably. I think I get it because it happened again on Friday. I started crying and was afraid I would not stop.

Mason received a letter from Millsaps College in my beloved home state of Mississippi. They were offering him admission which was already thrilling but then there was more: Millsaps has offered him their Presidential Scholarship. A big deal. A huge deal. And so I started crying. And I cried. And I wiped my eyes and then I accidentally cried some more.

And then it hit me. This cry, this emotional state of tears when I should be HAPPY felt exactly the same as that cold day in the gym. And suddenly I knew: Validation. Validation was making me weep.

When those strangers on the bleachers in Pine Island, Minnesota applauded my son, I felt validated that other people besides Wade and I recognized the awesome packed into that little three-year-old's body! It was validation that there would be people in this world who would see the effort he puts in to everything he does. 

Friday was that all over again. Validation that this school (and others ) are seeing past the obstacles Mason faces and seeing instead his accomplishments. Validation that there are people in this world who will join me in cheering him to reach his goals and succeed at his dreams.

Validation that Cerebral Palsy will not blind people to the wonder of my son.

Excuse me if I'm weepy this week -- I promise I am not sad. I am simply overwhelmed as I count my blessings that Jesus willingly shows me again and again and again that Philippians 4:13 is personal. Mason, Benjamin, Claire and Cate (and you and me, my friends) CAN do all things through HIM who gives us strength! And that is 100 percent in spite of every single obstacle in our way!!

And to my son: Mason, to be more proud of you than I have been since the day you were born would be impossible. But know this, I am here on the bleachers cheering your every accomplishment and praying through your every struggle and putting on my boxing gloves for your every battle. I am here where I have always been. I am so blessed to be your mom. I love you more than you will ever know.

Carol - The Blessings Counter