i dare you
With more communication comes more confidence.
And he starts to fret less,
Accept strangers more.
Evidence of big gains,
In inner strength,
In processing the world,
An ability to interpret situations.
And yet we still know nothing comes easy,
Without consistent intervention.
And nothing is guaranteed to stick.
And as if by greater awareness,
Comes an expressive frustration,
Even a stroppiness,
Over a fear.
And soon he begins to grimace loudly,
Pulling at my clothing,
Flailing his arms around.
A new characteristic dousing my guilt flames,
As suddenly so clear is his hindrance at inability,
For a body not doing as his minds intent.
Let down and with a look of despair in his eyes,
He locks on mine as if,
Pleadingly asking why?
While hard to watch,
And even harder to stop my natural instincts to intervene,
To do it for him,
To pacify his anguish.
Make everything better.
Now I see is not helping him.
By taking this battle on for him,
Is robbing him of vital life skills.
The chance for neural pathways to entrench a channel,
The chance to figure it out.
To balance his emotions,
To problem solve,
To make choices,
To truly participate in this world,
Not as an onlooker,
As an active being.
And thankfully for the most part he seems to accept the challenge,
Amidst the outbursts.
And it’s a testament to his determination,
His inner drive.
That what makes us fundamentally human.
Our curiosity for life.
A propulsion towards independence.
It’s easier for me to say,
On the sideline,
No way of ever knowing what it’s like for him.
And we still challenge him only within reasonable expectation.
Yet my heart breaks a little more every time a battle seems too great.
But the most valuable gift I can give him,
Besides my love and devotion,
Is the chance to learn to do it for himself.
Through trial and error,
Tears and tantrums,
The opportunity to foster now,
That which he will need in life,
That which will make possible his engagement to life.
I refuse to allow his passive existence,
Which is absolutely within my control,
Despite what common outlook to cerebral palsy may be.
The brain is plastic for a reason.
Opportunity is everything.
Don’t lower your expectations of them,
But raise them higher,
And watch them float beyond belief.
I dare you.