Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Painting a Masterpiece

Every year on World Cerebral Palsy Day in October, and also on America's CP Awareness Day in March, I talk about "going green" for awareness. I usually pull out a photo or two and "paint" it with my editing software so that it has a green tint. 

If you search this blog, you will find my first entry labeled Cerebral Palsy all the way back in 2012. I have apparently labeled 65 posts with Cerebral Palsy. That number shocks me and frankly just attests to how bad I am at labeling. See, here's the thing, I have posted 765 times here....and while there might be posts about seemingly random things, I can assure you that all are actually about cerebral palsy.

Because even as I tint everything green twice a year for awareness, the awareness I seek is that everything in our life has been tinted by Cerebral Palsy.

I was laying in the hospital on a labor and delivery floor when I first heard the term in reference to my as-of-then-unborn babies. The ob-gyn fellow was discussing my case with medical students outside my hospital room. She was very loud as she informed them that she would never take the meds I was taking because she wouldn't want babies that had cerebral palsy.

That was the first stroke of the CP paint brush across our lives.

The triplets volunteered -- or rather we volunteered them -- to participate in a study on premature babies. A physical therapist came to our apartment every week to examine them. Early on, Benjamin was reaching milestones way advanced for his age. "He might be using tone to hold his head up," our dear PT, Laura, told me. "He might have Cerebral Palsy."

That was the second stroke of the paint brush.

The boys were a year old when a doctor officially diagnosed them with CP.

And suddenly there was a third stroke painting our world.

My favorite Mississippi artist, Ellen Langford, often posts short video clips on her Instagram as she paints. Early on, her vision is imperceptible to my naked eye and yet I am fascinated to see the masterpiece I know will come from the strokes she is adding to the paper.

If I could go back to those early parenting years and tell young Mom-me anything, it would be that those initial paint strokes of cerebral palsy are but a small part of a beautiful amazing portrait. I would tell young me to enjoy the process as cerebral palsy layers surgeries, therapies, hardships, with accomplishments, friendships, love. I would whisper to watch for the strokes of color added by a high school commencement speech, a standing ovation at college graduation, successful archaeological digs, and brushes with presidential candidates. I would remind myself that every single painting by a true artist is unique and special and the lives of Benjamin and Mason will be exactly that.

Today, is World Cerebral Palsy Day. CP absolutely colors our world, painting every experience with the particular brush strokes that it brings. But those strokes are varied, the colors exquisite, and oh my goodness, the big picture to date is already a masterpiece! I am so grateful.

My own reminder of how an artist's strokes can create a masterpiece, an Ellen Langford original.

Carol - The Blessings Counter