"To become a real boy you must prove yourself brave, truthful and unselfish" Pinocchio
Can I just tell you how much I love this little boy. He amazes me everyday. Today he got 5 teeth pulled and 2 of them were way up in his gums. He sat in that chair, his eyes swelled up and he didn't shed a tear. He was so darn brave. Three hours later, he is up practicing his num'chucks, or whatever Power Ranger weapon it is. He says he's getting pretty good at them.
Today his cousin, Micheal (who is the cutest thing ever), came over and he's already walking at less than a year. Joe is ultra competitive and was begging me to say that he, Joe, walked first. I explained to Joe that we never knew for sure if he'd be able to walk. I told him how when he was born he may have had a stroke, we are unsure. I told him how we didn't know a lot of things.
But what we did know is that he did not use his right side much. David took him to Dr. and she simply said, "He has Cerebral Palsy" and then she walked out. We had no clue what that meant. And so we begin therapy that seemed to never end. I can remember at one time I think we went 4 days a week, and 2 of those days 2x a day. It was nuts. The best part for me and Joe was to see all the other kids and understand.
I was so mean to kids that were different when I was younger. I really was. I think it was because I did not understand. When Joe was about 4 I was putting his brace on his hand and he said, "Mom, I do not want to wear it, people will know". I could hardly believe it, kids start judging at 4? Now, I simply tell kids, "just like some of you have glasses cuz your eyes don't work, Joe has a brace cuz his leg/arm doesn't work all that well." and they seem to get it.
Okay, I am getting pretty long here. I need to get to the Cliff Notes. As we watched him sit bravely at the dentist we talked about how amazing he was. All but a few times that he's gotten botox (yes, it's used to treat muscles in CP kids), they'd roll him off in the little cart into the room and he'd look at us, but did not cry. All his long hours of therapy have made him so patient and determined.
So when he asked about Michael I told him, "Ya, Michael walks early but you could do puzzles like it was no one else's business". Julie, one of his physical therapists, once told me, every kid just needs one thing he can shine at. I couldn't figure out why she was teaching Joe to draw a traingle and a square when he was 3. She said, "When he goes to school all the kids we be cutting. Joe may have a hard time, but darn it, he'll be able to draw his shapes before anyone else. Kids need to have one thing to shine at". Man, I love Julie. She was also the first one to tell me I spoil Joe rotten. Which I still do.
You know, Joe having these issues has almost been a good thing in a way. It has totally changed me. I am much more undersatnding of others. I now know what it feels like to have people stare, they used to all the time when he was little. I remember one time I saw the sweetest baby and she had a huge birth defect on her face. She was so beautiful and I told the Mom how beautiful she was. The lady almost cried. I don't think she had ever heard that. She had only felt the stares. It sucks. People always say, "Well, it could be worse" and ya it could be. That is really a sucky thing to say, cuz it could be a helluva lot better too for so many.
Okay, now you all know how much I love Joe. He has just made me such a better person. Yes, even if he pushes me to my limit now and then.