I thought my first “real” post was going to be the most helpful one, finding shoes that work over AFOs. Today, I realized another tip was more important and that as a mom, is probably the golden tip, the mother of all my tips:
The power of positive thinking. Remembering to never say never about a child’s future abilities.
Let’s go back to my daughter’s first days. This was a time of great uncertainty. I tried to find information about her condition, tried to know what to do and what to believe. Her future was in my hands.
When Ariana was 10 days old, my husband and I sat in the evaluation room at our local Children’s hospital – top rated in the country, and waited for answers and hope. The first stream of people entered, the resident and her student entourage (you know what I mean). I can still remember that moment. It went a little like this…
The resident, I am going to call her “Sarah”, began with the usual line of questioning. “So, tell us about your pregnancy”, she said. “Tell us about your family history”. Then, I went into all the not-so-glorious details about that when all I wanted to know was, “will she walk?”.
After the long line of questioning, in came the doctor. The door opened and it was as if the seas had just parted; a flock of doves were released all around him while angels sang. He was the “crazy professor with a bow-tie” type of doctor. The ONE with answers. After a while, he left the room and Sarah re-entered after their pow-wow in the hallway. I finally got to ask, “Will Ariana walk?” She looked into my eyes and said, “That’s the goal, but I don’t know.” She didn’t say “no”, but it was a very hopeless sounding, “that’s the goal”.
I went home, I often rocked my 5 pound baby girl in the middle of the night, dreaming of whether she would ever ride a scooter in the cul-de-sac like I saw the neighborhood kids often do. I shed a few tears at night, in high hopes and also completely enamored by her.
My family told me that she would walk, she would run. I tried to control their expectations as they were trying to give me the hope that the doctors failed to provide. They needed to be prepared that she may not do those things. The next year and a half was filled with doubt about her future abilities. I had fears, ones that she, one-by-one, erased. These doubts were mine alone, never shared by my determined child. Today, at physcial therapy, she was told to run as fast as she could up and down the hallway. To you, she may have been walking somewhat quickly. To her, she was definitely racing. To me, she was winning a marathon.
I am here to tell you folks, NEVER say “never”. NEVER say “can’t”. Children are amazing. I have spent the last 4 years, first being schooled by an infant who continues the lessons to present day, always with a smile. This week, I sat poolside and watched Ariana enjoy her swim lesson. No one watching knew, the lesson was for us.
That is: Everything is possible! If this tiny girl could overcome such adversity with a smile, we all need to hold hope and believe. She changed my life forever and now, my purpose is clear.