from therapies each day, and the time and the shuffling of kids and schedules to make it all happen.
That was until I saw the pictures that Shea’s therapist shared with us after her recent trip to a small village in Nicaragua. These photos, and the stories she told, changed my life.
They humbled me to my very core.
In this little village, people are very poor and struggle to get
their children proper healthcare. Disabilities still exist, and their kids look very much like our kids
with Cerebral Palsy do here. But these kids don’t have beautifully custom-made orthotics to give their little legs strength where it is missing. They don’t have wheelchairs that position their children correctly or allow them any independence. In this town there is one, literally one, walker.
In one photo a little girl who looked hauntingly like my own, was
using the one walker to ambulate for the very first time in her four years. This walker was one of those you buy at a chain drug store for a giant adult, not for a tiny little girl with braids and
big brown eyes. Bridget told us how this little girl squealed with delight each step she took, while her mother looked on in tears. This beautiful little girl never wanted to stop, after having found this new skill of walking.
Another young man was being pushed in a “wheelchair” that was
made from a plastic lawn chair. A cheap plastic lawn chair affixed with whatever wheels would work on each side, and he had transportation. The chairs I have seen some of my friend’s children in are nicer than my car, and probably cost close to it. But this young man was thrilled that at least he had
The story that touched my heart in the most profound way was about a mother who so desperately
wanted her four-year-old little boy with CP to see a physical therapist, that she literally carried him for an hour and a half walking. Walking. I have been known
to complain about driving my minivan 20 minutes to a state of the art facility
because it was “oh, so hard.”
Bridget went out and bought the woman a beautiful new stroller to use and
one that would position her little guy correctly for sitting.
The woman cried for three straight days at the generosity.
It’s humbling to think about how other parents do it in countries
that do not have the resources we do.
Humbling to think of the amount of pure love it takes to raise a child
with a disability in this environment, when days must never seem to get
easier. It has made me appreciate the many blessings we have here at our disposal for our kids.
Schools that work to make themselves accessible, therapists they see
every week, beautiful facilities with fancy equipment, orthotists to make them
braces, and doctors who follow their progress from day one.
When I find myself thinking that this life is a bit too hard, and
feel sorry for myself, I think of these families, of these mothers like
myself. We all wake up each day to our beautiful, challenging children with disabilities – but our days are much different. Mine are filled with opportunity and I need to truly appreciate and be thankful for living where I do.
And send any extra strength their way.
Rachelle Evensen says
Beautiful! Suddenly feeling so grateful!
Such a wonderful post and an incredible perspective! Thanks!!
Patty – my heart aches for the parents of those children but you are so lucky to use their journey as your lesson. And then to share that lesson with us is appreciated and invaluable. We all think we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders and feel comfortable sharing that weight and frustrations with whoever we meet – we should all try carrying the weight of a 9 year old child one day on our shoulders. That’s what you and the parents of the children in your story do every day. You are my hero’s!