Though this is the 1st time on this blog I am mentioning this, it certainly won't be the last.
My oldest son has mild cerebral palsy. I'll tell the story another time, but he was born with it - although not diagnosed until he was a year & a half old. He has full range of motion but his whole right side is tight. He needs to wear an AFO on one of his legs and keeps an arm in close to his body because it's more comfortable for him. I've never kept it a secret from him that he has cerebral palsy, but it's also hard to explain to a little one. He's heard the term though I doubt he could tell you what it is or that he has it. For now what he really knows is that his leg needs help to get stronger and that's why he wears the AFO.
I have my good days with his diagnosis and bad days... mostly I worry about what's in the future for him. Today at the market I was reminded of how lucky he really is.
We passed someone in a wheelchair and he asked me why they needed the chair, why they couldn't walk. I never know what to say in situations like that but I always try to incorporate something about everyone being different ... I told him that the man was in the wheelchair because he could not walk, so he uses the chair to help him get where he needs to go. He asked why he couldn't walk. I struggled to find the right words and I said "Well baby, maybe his muscles aren't strong enough for him to walk." I pointed out how his own muscles need a little help so he wears his AFO... but some people need much more help and they can't do it on their own.
I watched his precious little face light up and he smiled big and said "Oh yeah! Mommy I'm sooo lucky that I can walk all by myself, aren't I!" ...and that little kid high fived me. I managed to give him a big smile and high five back and say "Yes baby, we are so lucky."
On the inside though I wanted to cry.
I had to bite my lip and pretend I was looking for an item on a shelf for a moment to concentrate on not crying in front of him, because he is so lucky - we are so lucky - that his cerebral palsy is not worse. It's something I need to remind myself of more when I begin to worry about his future, and it took my 4 year old to make me see it today.