Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I almost can't remember. Almost.

Flying from Dallas home this weekend, I was struck by the delightful universal sounds of parenting  all around me -- playing peek-a-boo with the baby in front of me, squeals of delight when Cheerios were offered, and squeals of dismay when the Cheerios went flying all over the aisle floor. Across the aisle, I was tickled by the little boy telling his older brother that "I'm not a baby. I'm a big boy."

The sounds could have been happening on any plane, flying anywhere in the world.

And yet, the sheer normalcy of it overwhelmed me with emotion. I felt choked up with the ease with which the families loaded, navigated the aisles, passed children back and forth.

I was leaving a conference for families affected by cerebral palsy. I was leaving mothers and fathers who longed for the normalcy of peek-a-boo and cheerios without the worry of whether their little toddler would ever sit alone or pull to stand.

Let's be real: I am that mother.

My flight landed and I immediately loaded our accessible van to drive Benjamin to Washington, DC where he is spending the next two weeks volunteering for the Virginia gubernatorial election. He is making phone calls, and has plans to canvas and he is just looking so grown-up that I almost don't remember that Cheerios were a tool in occupational therapy to teach him to pick up small items. 

Navigating the streets of DC.

I almost don't remember that when we played peek-a-boo one of his little eyes had a patch on it as we worked to train and strengthen the eye muscles to behave.

Go break the ceiling Benjamin! You have my vote!

I almost can't remember that he has never wandered an airplane aisle.


Today we walked from one end of the National Mall all the way to the Lincoln Memorial. I was so excited to take photos of two of my crew with the Lincoln statue. I have seen it in person one other time but the kids were younger and today was going to be a day where we could reflect for a moment.

Except the elevator was broken. Broken. We had no way to get Benjamin to the top. No way to get to even SEE Abraham Lincoln.

I was carried back to my flight a few days ago and the emotion of all things that can get taken for granted when your child doesn't have a cerebral palsy diagnosis.

Some things just make me weary.

After I registered my disdain with the park rangers -- they told me the elevators have been broken for months -- I took a deep breath. Yes, watching Benjamin serve his purpose and reach for his goals makes my heart soar. It does not, however, make me forget that he has cerebral palsy. 

And that is ok. Really.

Carol - The Blessings Counter