Thursday, September 1, 2011
To look at our little Matthew, you wouldn't know anything was wrong with him. It's not until you spend time with him and watch him maneuver around that you find things a little "off". So many of my friends comment on how "normal" he looks.
And he does to the untrained eye.
He also looks "normal" until I tell people he's 13 months old and answer their question of whether he's walking or not by telling them he's not pulling up by himself yet and is nowhere near walking. Shoot, he can't even get himself from lying down to a sitting position!
But, we are working on all of these things.
Some days I have more time to work with him than others. If I could, I would spend my entire day on the floor with him, but other parts of life must be taken care of. And the truth is, it wears him out when we do serious physical therapy work. It makes him use muscles that he's not accustomed to using, and he gets very frustrated with himself and me.
And it wears on my momma-heart.
I so badly want him to be able to do things that babies his age, and even younger, can do. I don't want him to be teased. I don't want him to be "different". But the truth is that he is going to be "different". To what extent, we just don't know yet.
And I'm finally starting to absorb that truth.
I've known it all along, but lately, seeing how far behind he is and how slow he's progressing, it is becoming more clear to me. Matthew is a "special needs" baby. His needs are not as great as many others in the world. And believe you me, I count my blessings for that each and every day. But if we're all honest, we don't want our children to be "different" at all. We don't want them to struggle. Life is hard enough, and kids are mean enough, without throwing in a disability on top of things.
No one will make any firm predictions about his future. I believe he will eventually walk, but he might be two or three years old before that happens. He very well may need to wear a brace on his right leg, which the physical therapist has already talked about. He rolls his right foot in when standing and turns it out when army crawling.
Through all the heartache that his physical challenges bring, it also brings so much love to my heart for him. He has no idea that he's any different from anyone else at this point in his sweet, innocent, young life. And I love that! He just loves life and we love him!
But I also cannot tell you how much I rejoice in the smallest progress that he makes. Something that so many parents just take for granted. If he feeds himself with his right hand instead of his left, I'm clapping and making a huge fuss over it. If he stands with just a small nudge on his behind instead of a big lift, I'm praising him for that, too.
I'm definitely his biggest cheerleader and rejoice in the smallest improvement. He is moving in the right direction, slowly but surely. I just have to remember to be patient. I remind myself how much worse things could be. And in the scheme of life, his disability or "special needs" really isn't that bad.
Do I wish things were different? Sure. I would be lying if I said no. But they aren't, and I'm trying to embrace that I am the mother to a "special needs" child. And from what I've heard and read from other parents to these special little ones, he will bless my socks off in ways that I could never imagine!
We love him no matter what!!!