Friday, August 15, 2008

Just Great

Just when you think things are going along swimmingly something or someone comes along and smacks you on the side of the head and says "smarten up and pay attention". Well, I had one of those smacks yesterday.

You see, I thought Bennett was making great progress with walking and his walker and that it would only be a few months and we would be kissing that walker good-bye. Well, at yesterday's physiotherapy appointment (the last one for 2 months), his flushed physiotherapist suggested that it was time for us to purchase a walker - a souped up model with backrest, seat, etc. She said it was something that Bennett would probably need for a while and therefore would be a worthwhile investment. She qualified this with the observation that she doesn't have a crystal ball and maybe he won't need it for that long but who knows. She asked what I thought/felt about that. As soon as I managed to scrape along the floor to find the wind that was knocked out of me, I managed to croak "Well, if that's what he needs". What the heck am I supposed to say? We love our physiotherapist and trust her opinion completely. Maybe that's why it had such an effect on me.

For the rest of the appointment I managed to maintain my composure even when the social worker who came to help me with the paperwork asked me "How are you?". And she didn't just ask in that passing way that most people do - you know, the people that ask but have already started the next sentence before you've even answered. No, when she asked she actually looked like she really wanted to know. Once again I managed to croak out a one word answer "Fine".

Fortunately, she moved on and I was able to save my tears for the way home. Today, I have a little more perspective. It still hurts my mommy heart more than I can say to think that Bennett will have to use a walker for a long time. But, I know it's a piece of metal and just like it didn't define me, it certainly doesn't define him. It's a tool to help him learn to walk and to help him become more independent. I'm grateful that there is still hope that he will walk and that we are able to get this kind of equipment and that we have a great physiotherapist to help us along the way. But, I just want to say this - It still hurts like hell.

And on that note, I just wanted to let you all know that I probably won't be posting much for the next two weeks as we are going to be very busy. But, I'll be back.


Gaetanne said...

Barbara, When I read your updates I am always in aw! How wonderful you are. I so, so appreciate your sharing so openly this part of your lives with me and everyone else who cares deeply.

Your blog is so charged with so many stories, feelings and emotions (some funny and some not) - and all of them from a place of such deep love and honesty.

I went to visit with Bennett a couple of days ago. I sadly had not seen him for a couple of weeks and was amazed at his progress. He is so much quicker, physically stronger, much surer footed than he was, his right leg is straighter than it was, he does not tire quickly when he walks like he did before, clearly signing his needs and just as cuddly, loving and happy as ever. His eyes are so communicative. He is clearly compensating for his present lack of words. And as for words - Suzy was some proud to hear him say Grandma today! What bliss! I felt a little jealous that he isn't saying Auntie Gaetanne yet!!!
But he will and I'll be some proud matante when he does.

Your family has a strong spirit and these challenges are making you, even if you dont feel it now, a little stronger every day. Bennett is here to teach us some very, very important lessons. He has taught me so much already in his almost two year old life. He has, like you, changed my life for the better and I am so greatful for that. He reminds me to always be greatful for the moment and to stay present when I am with him. He reminds me to not imagine his future but to create it with him each day. He reminds me to be receptive to all the little things that matter. He reminds me that all the little make up the big important things. He reminds me to take my cue from him and to value each moment with greater intensity. He reminds me to expect the best that he has to give and he does that with such gusto! He reminds me that wherever he goes is where I want to be.

I will see you soon.

Big hug,

Auntie Gates

Kiera Beth said...

Oh Barbara. My heart hurts for you also. It is so hard when things seem to be swimming along and one of these things come out of the blue when you do not expect it.

I loved what you said about it not defining you and that it will not define Bennett. He is so lucky to have you as a Mommy. You are an amazing person.

I wish I had words that would make it all better. I don't, so I will just offer you my support. I am thinking about you.

Enjoy your busy couple of weeks and we will see you in the fall!

Mummu and Poppa said...

JUST GREAT! a title so true!

Bennett is JUST GREAT and he is giving all of us something wonderful to live for and enjoy!

Concentrating on the 'positive' is not always easy especially for mommy and daddy.

We are human and we worry (our whole life through) for our children.

Sometimes a blow that hits 'below the belt' (as happened to mommy at Physio on Thursday) just crushes you.

Mommy is stronger than she realizes and she can lean on daddy for support. Daddy is a big man who can carry quite a load. As Daddy says, we all experience and cope with life in our own way ... but most importantly ... isn't love grand!

It is easier for us to look in 'from the outside' and share the many pleasurable moments.

Our thoughts are daily with Bennett, mommy and daddy, but we do not live day-in and day-out with the worries of the unknown.

Having Bennett 'one day a week' brings us such joy and we see such progress as Auntie Gaetanne said - Bennett is oh so quick and physically stronger.

He loves to walk and he knows that he has limits and he looks to us for support with his right foot - we are all here to help him 'move along' and get ahead in life.

Oh the lessons we learn from Bennett ... last Thursday at Wal Mart Bennett was sitting in the high chair eating his usual lunch - fries and chicken nuggets - when an old tattered looking man came to sit in the back to eat his food. Bennett quickly turned to this man started a conversation. The man talked from across the room to Bennett and they smiled at one another. Who knows how long since someone took the time to say 'hello'? Looks do not make the person worthwhile. The simple jesters of a child do!

Taking one day at a time is knowing that Bennett is giving on one hand all his love and on the other hand showing his frustrations when things don't go his way - the joys of being a kid and the ups and downs of life!

We all still have alot of learning to do.

Bennett, you are so lucky to have a strong mommy and daddy (and extended family) who will do anything in the world for you.

We are all growing - physically and spiritually - by loving and living with Bennett.

Bennett, you are HOPE for tomorrow and our reason for living today.

Continued growth, love and prayers
Mummu and Poppa
xxx ooo xxx ooo

North Dakota Ward's said...

Hugs girl, I am thinking and praying for Bennett and your family.

Bonnie said...

HI Mom, Dad, and Bennett. Although I'm here in North Bay at the Motherhouse, I'm sending you my love, prayers, and energy - especially to you, Barbara. It is easy to be pragmatic when you are not in the middle of the experience. Some days you do need to let it all out - just cry - and wonder why bad things happen to good people. I have no answers - but I do believe everyone and every situation comes into our lives for a reason - to teach us something. We have a choice - to learn from the situation and allow it to soften our hearts - making us more patient, compassionate, and loving. And that is what I see you doing as a family.

You know, if I were looking for words to describe my very limited (almost limited to blog encounters) experience of Bennett, I would say those are the same words that describe all of you - - patient, compassioante, and loving - - and yes - - sometimes frustrated and not so patient.

I did smile when I read mummu's blog re Bennett's interaction with the man during his "fries and nuggets." You know, I think sometimes children see beyond the externals into the "heart" of the other.

One of the Sisters here at the Motherhouse, had two of her nieces (twins) visiting for 10 days. They are 5 years old. They were quite taken with the Sisters - especially the older Sisters. They asked one Sister - Sister Mary Bettie - if she would like to come swimming with them.The fact that Mary is blind was a non-issue to them. They just liked her and saw beyond her physical limitation. They told one of the postulants (a nun in the first year of life as a nun - and she is about 22 years old) that "she didn't look like the other Sisters". When their aunt asked asked them what made her look different to them - they said her hair was different (it's spiked at the back - - looks good on her - - but not many of us are brave enougy [or young enough] for hair spikes). So the children see things and interpret them in very different ways.

Another one of the Sisters told me that her Great Grand Niece who is one month old - for some reason - seems to have no nerves in her brain that carry messages from the eyes to the brain - so she seems to be blind. She also has no head control. However - in the past few weeks, she's sitting up better, and they are hoping that her nerve endings will begin to grow and reconnect. It is amazing what the body can do.

All of this is to say that I love you all and hold you in my heart in prayer. I had invited Bennett for a "stair date" - but he has a higher calling - the Massey Fair! Perhaps next time I am in town we can get together for a cup of tea?

Lots of love,
Auntie Bonnie

Jessica said...

Just so ya know- We started the order process with Logen's before he was 2 (I think). By the time we got it, uh- like 18 months later- he used it MAYBE 6 months before he was walking independantly (still not 'perfect', as it may never look like our walking). I say, get started with the process now. And, maybe your wait won't be so long (we had insurance to approver or deny, then it went to medicaid for denial or approval- both of which are slower than all get out) or he won't need it when you get it. We also ordered the fancy forearm supports and pelvic stabilizer- he wouldn't touch the thing with the pelic stab on it!) My moral, this to shall pass. And, we were told he'd probably never walk and then again he'd walk before 2. So, take that kinda crap with a grain of salt. B will get there on his own time. And, hey- he's 'hopping' along great now! (If only I could practice what I preach...)

Anonymous said...

I was away when Barbara wrote this post. So, I've just had the wind knocked out of me too! Bennett is a smart kid. He called me Grandma-ma!!! (I melted) Barbara and Jim are strong. We didn't raise whimps, that's for sure. But I think that strong people internalize more and therefore hurt more. I'm glad that
Barbara is doing this blog since it gives her a chance to "unload". Amd my heart breakds every time I know that hers is breaking and my heart breaks when I see her in such pain that she has to use crutches to take the weight off her foot. In the meantime Wayne and I try to stay strong for them, including Jim (who believes that he can do 3 or 4 things at the same time and he usually does.)
Thank goodness for family (Barbara's and Jim's) and all their friends who love and help when they can.
Lots of love, hugs and kisses

Barbara said...

I'm late on this but wanted to say thank you to everyone for all the kind words and support. It means a lot to me.