Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Running at 6

No parent ever knows what their child will be capable of. We can hope, dream, plan all we want but what the reality is will never be quite what we anticipated. This is true regardless of ability, regardless of the hurdles or hurdle-free life a child has.

Watching Caedmon from birth, seeing how twisted his feet were, going through multiple surgery recoveries with him to improve mobility, taking him week after week to physical therapy, knowing his leg bones are rotated and will require more surgery sometime in the next few years, I decided long ago to just embrace every victory he has and let go of any expectation. I decided to encourage him when he asked to try something, to support him, to cheer for him, never to say 'never' and never to push.

So when his brother asked to run in a kid's 1/2 mile fun run after a race Adam was in and Caedmon, not one to want to be left behind, asked if he could too, I said, 'Great!' And when he waffled back and forth up until 3 minutes before the race started I just held his hand and said over and over, 'Whatever you want to do is fine but I know you can do it!' 'Okay, I'm gonna do it, Mom!' he said, turning in circles, which is his way of showing excitement.

Adam lined up with him at the starting line, pushing his wheelchair in case he needed it at some point in the race.

When the race started, he was in the back of the pack but he was running. He would slow a bit, then hear somebody cheering for him and his pace would pick back up again. I was standing halfway down the turnaround course. When he saw me, he blew me a kiss and then ran faster to catch up with his dad. He never stopped moving and he only stopped running once to say 'hi' to Asher, who couldn't stand to be on the sidelines and jumped in the race for the last 1/4.

Seeing him running brought a high-pressured surge of emotion. It was so beautiful, the way he moves his body when he runs is so fluid and graceful, like a dance, it brought so much pride, my boy, not stopping, not crying, not quitting, it brought back all the hard work he has done through the years to even be able to walk time and time again after surgeries knocked him backward. All of a sudden I could imagine what the parents of that athlete who scores the winning points at the last buzzer to win the championship game must feel or the parents who watch their child graduate at the top of the class from some Ivy League school or become president or do anything that they hardly dared to hope their child would be able to do.

'THAT IS MY SON!' I wanted to shout to everyone he was passing. I would have too, had I not been sobbing like a baby.