Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Yesterday...I met a remarkable woman and some of her family

Yesterday went very well. Hannah seems to like her new special ed teacher - a mother of 4 back from maternity leave. She updated a checklist (milestones) for Hannah that we have been using since she started there and it was lovely to be able to tick off a few more boxes - like the walking one!

The eye Dr doesn't want to see her for 2 years. YAY! So that was all good - a nightmare though as the eye drops made Hannah grumpy and hot and then of course she got tired being in the waiting room for so long (the whole thing meant we were there for just over 2 hours) so was even grumpier - I haven't had to deal witha grumpy hannah like that for a long time - it wasn't pleasant!

While I was there I met a mum, grandma and little boy called B. B is the same age as Hannah - only he is not sitting or crawling as he has cerebral palsy. He had the same hair colour as Hannah so naturally he caught my eye. He also had a lovely face. We were just passing the time chatting. B has a big brother J who is 7. J looks like a big version of his little brother - his Mum showed me her wallet photo of both boys - J had a big gorgeous grin, red hair and freckles. He is in a wheelchair, doesn't communicte verbally and is fed via his stomach. He too has CP.

I can't imagine what it must be like for that family. In many ways I am sure their life is pretty much like mine, in other ways it must be very different. As I drove home my mind was racing. I can't say that I felt sad exactly - emotional yes - there were tears in my eyes. Mostly though I was thinking about that woman's optimism. I recognised it of course because I share it too. Then I thought about fate - that great wild beast beyond our control. That woman's optimism was palpable. Her photoes of her sons showed each boys uniqueness and her pride in them. Sometimes choices are not better than fate. There is of course no prenatal testing for CP. They told me that. The mother also said that she knew her chances of having a child and then another child with CP were higher than average. I guess that is what made the word 'optimism' come so strongly to mind.

I have been thinking about Arthur Miller and his son Danny - the one he never mentioned in his biography, who was institutionalised (he would only be a few years older than me now) and who was visited regularly by his mother but never by his father - according to the excerpts I read online. I am in no place to judge A Miller - that isn't what this is about. On my drive home yesterday I kept thinking about him and then B and Js Mum. Miller lost on his choice and perhaps he died not knowing that but I can't help but think that those who have and still care for and love Danny Miller know it. Maybe optimism is what Arthur Miller needed more of.


Em said...

Well, this resonates with me, because I'm always coming across amazing kids and their families at the hospital - having G has really opened my eyes up to a very different parenting experience. It is the fate element (that wild beast as you so aptly put it) that I find so hard to swallow - life can be so random - one little event can swing you in an entirely new direction...

Camille said...

As you know, Emma will soon be six. I used to think she would never slow down when we went to our children's hospital. She would race down hallways, she would throw herself on the floor, she would "escape". A CHEO day was always an exhausting one. I looked at older children With D.S. quietly sitting reading a book with mom and wondered if they were like Emma when younger. She has somewhat slowed down; but not quite!!! Emma has a bubbly personality.
Once I met a woman who had 6 children: 2 of them had autism and the new baby had D.S. She stopped me and asked if Emma had needed heart surgery; she was crying. She told me her husband was a diabetic and she did most of everything at home and for the children. Then she said At least I am used to deal with therapists and the ODSP (government program for challenged people). That is when you thing WoW, have I ever got it easy...
Each our own, we find a way an d it is up to us to choose optimism or doomsday. Like you, Shelley, we have chosen to celebrate our lives, nothing can take this away from us. Of course, with a little work and with the help of our friends!