Your child has “cerebral palsy” with a kick to the gut and a brush of cold reality this is how the therapist told me. No nice, please sit down, pull up a chair, put your baby down and let’s talk… it was a fast cold harsh diagnosis.
It was November and I can remember thinking on the way over to the appointment what I needed to do for our holiday celebration, shopping, cooking, flowers, you have to have flowers, ironing the table cloth. Nowhere in there was there thinking about a life altering diagnosis which would forever change my daughter’s life but also all of ours who care for her.
I remember I just sat there and held my daughter and stared at this woman who so crassly changed my world with the stroke of five words. Cerebral Palsy; What would this mean for her, for us? And as she abruptly got up as fast as the words fell out of her mouth I just sat and wondered…
How am I going to do this?
What about school?
What about friends?
What about ballet with her sister?
What about her prom?
What about college?
What about her wedding and grandchildren?
I sat there and watched one life vanish before my eyes and another unknown one begin. It was as if I had lost one baby and given birth to another in the same moment…
We have always been good people, how could this happen to our family?
Why did god do this to us?
I picked up my daughter and brought her out to the car in her car seat and I remember I just sat there and cried… and cried… as I kept looking at her in my rear view mirror.
When I got home, which was thru the grace of god because I’m not quite sure how I drove and cried with so much on my mind. I picked up my daughter from her car seat and brought her in the house. And as I did this she looked at me with her big beautiful eyes and smile and I knew this wasn’t going to be easy but look at her, she was beautiful and I was blessed with her just the way she was, and I was going to be dammed if I was going to let some stupid diagnosis change the way I was going to raise my daughter. Screw that! I was going to give her the best life I possible could! I was determined to make each day of her life a little easier anyway I could.
Update: My daughter is now 25 years old and not a day has gone by that I don’t wish a magic wand could give my daughter her “legs” or a “voice” but I love her just the way she is, she is my child, my beautiful beautiful child!