Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Daddy's Thoughts {Guest Post} Part 3

This is the last portion of Doug's contribution to my blog this weekend. I enjoyed reading about how he's seen the past few years through writing. Thanks Babe!

You can read part 1 here: PART 1
You can read part 2 here: PART 2

After many months of processing, here is what we have come to understand:

  • Sarah’s Cerebral Palsy is minor, but it will not get any worse with time
  • We need to keep an eye on her because in addition to having very little risk aversion, the CP means that her physical coordination and balance are both very poor.
  • No one can tell us how far she will progress in her learning, or what final level of self-sufficiency she will achieve... but she will keep progressing
  • The progress she makes will be slower than her peers, so over time we will watch her get further and further behind “normal” kids... but she will keep progressing at her own pace

I have chosen to focus on the fact that she will grow and develop in her own time.  This stems partially from my own dealing with depression and the need and tremendous benefit for me to view things from a position of hope. (Stephanie has written a couple of posts on our journey together to date through my depression, and we will likely write more about that in future)  Every time I see a forward step in Sarah I choose to be thankful... even if it is opening door knobs to make a mess as she explores part of the world that she didn’t have access to previously!

We now have a beautiful little girl who will turn 5 in June.  Functionally, we have a 2½ - 3 year old with more reach and greater strength than the typical toddler.  Mix it with the intense curiosity of someone trying to catch up to her older siblings, and we have to be constantly on the look out for knives and scissors that could modify her surroundings, for opportunities to climb to heights where Sarah’s balance may fail her, and for open doors and gates that Sarah may take off through to follow something she sees through the portal to the great unknown.

Sarah has forced Stephanie and I to re-examine what it means for us to parent our children.  How do we care for her without neglecting Joshua, Andrea, and Arianna?  How do we make sure the older children have the experience of things that challenge and engage them while we move at the pace of the person with the shortest legs?  At what point are we asking too much of the older kids when we ask them to include Sarah in their activities, or to keep an eye out for her while we attend to other things that keep our household running?

Sarah has brought a dynamic to our family that we couldn’t have found without her.  She is loved by everyone she encounters, and I don’t know yet of an exception (there has to be someone, somewhere, but I don’t know of anyone).  I’ve learned how to find beauty in grief, to find hope in trial, and what unconditional love looks like when it comes from tiny arms time after time... 

You might say that I’ve learned a lot about what God is like thanks to Sarah and thanks to the challenges that we have walked through to this point together.  

I couldn’t ask for more from any of my children!

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