Friends and Enemies

Let’s face it – most end-of-the-year school programs naturally cause us to not only reflect upon the passage of time, but also force us to look at our children in comparison to all the others. Sure, we tell each other that we shouldn’t measure our children against our friends’ children and that each child is unique….

But seriously folks, who really listens to that nonsense? I think we all do it in different ways.  Some do it to make sure we are doing things right and some do it to make sure everyone else is doing it wrong-er.   There are countless opportunities to engage in this hobby –  class parties, graduations, awards ceremonies, end-of-the-year banquets.

This year, the juxtaposition of two happenings has me stuck in my own head. Sophie was given an award for being one of the most physically fit children on Planet Earth.  Along with a steady year of high honor roll, there is nothing more a parent could ask for.  She is not only a bright shining star in the classroom, a leader of the pack, she does it with abs of steel and a heart-rate to shame us all.  She does this because of who she is and not because of our parenting.

A day later, Max performed in a  school play. It was an elaborate attempt to entertain, educate and include everyone. The teachers did a wonderful job and the kids worked very hard even as they were being boiled to death by the heat. However, as I stood/sat/stood/sat in the gymnasium feeling nauseous from that heat, I noticed how different Max really is. While I think about his CP all the time, I write about it when I am motivated, and act on it everyday, thankfully I forget it when I am with him.  However, on a stage of hundreds of 2nd graders, he is is the only one with leg braces, the only one who cannot walk and the only one who looks the way he does. For him to get on that stage to be part of the group, he needs divine intervention.  Merely standing for an hour, saying his one line and pretending to actually sing the songs is a miracle of biblical proportions.

When Sophie wins an award for the fitness of her body, she becomes something more than the others because of that body. When Max is with the others, he must become something more despite the fitness of body. His body is his enemy. Hers is her best friend.

4 Responses so far.

  1. I have a third grader with cerebral palsy and a strong, athletic, sports kid for a second grader. Although the differences between them are obvious, I’ve never looked at Kyle’s CP as his enemy- although I’ve been frustrated, aggravated, restricted, I’m also thankful. His doctors thought he’d never walk, sit, communicate or be independent. In some form or another, he has proved them wrong in each of these.

    “While I think about his CP all the time, I write about it when I am motivated, and act on it everyday, thankfully I forget it when I am with him”- this might be the most beautiful & meaningful sentence I’ve ever read.

    • wearingcostumes says:

      Thanks so much for your lovely words. I do understand what you are saying the CP not being so much of an enemy as maybe something else entirely. There have been great and wonderful things that have come to be because of it! I wish you many blissful days of “forgetfulness” too.

  2. leslie brown says:

    Once again, so well spoken. So many personal experiences I could share feeling the same way with both my sons – and that is without a challenge like CP. Your son is truly a gift to this world, and how blessed he is to have you advocate for him.

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