Tuesday, September 4, 2012

World Cerebral Palsy Day

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Today is World Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. In honor of today, Noah's Inspiration Through Art foundation photographer, Lisa Kitto, helped me make Noah's awareness photo. I wish I could tell you the world was filled with love, understanding and kindness for Noah, but that's simply not always the case. Even this past weekend we took Noah to Dairy Queen, as ice cream is quite arguably his most favorite food group. There was a long wait in line and Noah immediately started to get impatient. He doesn't wait well - he hates being stationary or waiting for anything. There was a couple in their middle years who asked the ages of both my boys. I told her and she then responded that the she thought at the age of 3 1/2 that I as a parent should have taught Noah patience. I replied of course that it was very hard to attempt to teach a child who was non-verbal with quadriplegia cerebral palsy patience. And immediately she turned to me and barked "And you take him out in public like that?" Well yes after all cerebral palsy isn't a disease and I'm not just going to hide my disabled son from the world.

Thankfully minutes after we got through line there was an adult man in an electric wheelchair waiting in line next; his speech was hard to understand and slurred with his two service dogs, a wedding ring on his finger. God always places people in my path as he knew I'd see it as a sign that I was not alone and sending me hope that yes Noah too will find his way in an often hard and cruel world. As we loaded the boys in the car an elderly couple approached, I braced myself for whatever was next, but they lovingly said they could just hug and squeeze both my boys, wished us a happy ice cream experience and we were on our way. There are some really wicked people out there. Can you make love grow in their hearts? Likely no. Can you teach them to be kind and have acceptance for a little boy who is very disabled? Likely no. Acceptance is a choice. I can't educate anyone, I can't make anyone feel something they don't. But God is always watching. Always. So it's not up to me to keep score of those who treat Noah as anything less than the beautiful little boy that he is. I can only be the best mother I can be; the best role model to my children; and to remember to always treat everyone as I would like them to treat me and my children.

Noah has been increasingly joyful lately. His laughter is such a heavenly sound. His dad and I both smile and are filled with such comfort that our little guy is so happy. Despite his challenges he still is happy to be here. I bought this little pop-up play tent for Luke since he's in a hiding play phase, but ironically Noah has found more enjoyment in it than his little brother. It's very lightweight with paper-like fabric so he's able to get it over his entire body leaving just his feet hanging out. Chris and I talk to each other like where is Noah? We can't find Noah... where could he be? He knows he's hiding and just laughs at us trying to find him. We love this new game that we play. It's so normal for a 3 1/2 year old to play in this way and reaffirms to us that Noah is just like any other kid - he just goes about it a little differently.

In honor of Noah, the next disabled person you see - regardless of the age or disability - say just one thing that is tremendously loving and kind. Remind them they are accepted and cared about in this world.


Noah's Miracle by Stacy Warden is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.