God doesn't give children with special needs to strong people; He gives children with special needs to ordinary, weak people and then gives them strength. Raising a child with special needs doesn't take a special family, it makes a special family.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I had a moment last night....you know, one of those moments when you stand back, watching your child do something, realizing that he's really growing up and getting so much stronger. For the first time last night, Brenden walked from the car all the way into the riding arena to start his riding lesson. I will admit, I hovered just a little...there's a slope that he had to walk down to get in the gate, and I was right there, ready to grab him and the walker if need be, because I was sure he would stumble. But ya know what...he didn't. Brenden is becoming very independent lately. An answer to three years of prayers, yes. But at times I find myself sad that he's growing up right before my eyes. I think back to the day I was told he would never walk, never have a chance at a "normal" life. As I sit here watching him trying ever so desperately to get the wrapper off of a bucket of sidewalk chalk, I'd say our life is fairly "normal," if there really is such a thing.

Someday when we are at UVA I hope to run into Dr. Christine Houlihan, a developmental pediatrician that felt it necessary to sit Jonathan and I down for a chat when Brenden was in the NICU. She told us he would never walk. That he may never talk. That he may never be independent. She advised us not to consider any more children. I also remember the look on her face when I said, "I'm done with this." And Jonathan and I got up and walked out. Less then perfect timing on her part, as we were still trying to absorb everything we had been hit with. Maybe if she could see him now, she would change her approach to families dealing with similar situations. I'll never forget her words, and there are days, that it's her words that make me push Brenden even harder. Just to prove her wrong.

Now, for a big announcement. One that I prayed about. Thought about. And am very excited about. A few weeks ago I was asked by a fellow SB mommy if I would be interested in running the ING NYC Marathon as part of the Spina Bifida Association's Marathon Team. It just became official today. Basically, each team member committs to raise a minimum of $2500, though my personal goal is more. This year, there will be a total of 10 runners, twice as many as last year!

I am very excited for this opportunity, and just this morning was reminded why I'm doing this. Both kids were up early this morning, so I decided to take them out for a run. I wasn't sure how they would do, as this was a first. Typically I run in the evenings, however with Jonathan being gone that's not easy. Anyways, the kids surprised me. They cooperated much better than I expected and thought it was loads of fun! For most of the run, Brenden was yelling, "Go, Mommy!" and "Run fast!" As I listened to him cheering me on, I got a little emotional. Usually, it's the opposite....me reassuring him, cheering him on, convincing him that he's able to do something. But now, here he was giving me purpose, a reason to run. And that's why I am committed to this race. For Brenden. And for the many other friends I have met on this journey.

Over the next several months I ask for your prayers as I prepare for the big day. I also ask for your help in reaching my fundraising goal. Big or small, every dollar helps. It goes directly to the Spina Bifida Association, which is committed to enriching the lives of those living with SB.

You may go HERE to donate, just make sure you click on my name as the Team Captain. You may also send me a check, which will then be forwarded to the SBA office in DC.


Joanna said...

Wow Michelle!! Good for you!! I'm just smiling at reading about how well Brenden is doing - what a big boy! And that you are now going to participate in such an amazing event and raise awareness for SB is just awesome! So excited for you and of course I'll keep you in my prayers!

"The Popham's" said...

Michelle, You will never know just how much you touch me. I am reading your post with a smile from ear to ear and tears streaming down my face. I don't tell you enough but "YOU INSPIRE ME" Love you and "GO MICHELLE GO!!!!