Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The “Every Day” aspect

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day, saying…."I will try again tomorrow". – Mary Anne Radmacher

Today I was with Ricki at the hospital for a routine check-up at one of the outpatient clinics. In the middle of our brief visit, Ricki decided to leave the doctor’s office and go out to gaze at the TV. So the doctor asked me, perhaps because for once Ricki wasn’t in the room, “And how is she doing otherwise?”
[He asked either because Ricki wasn’t in the room (nice of him not to ask in front of her), or perhaps he saw my FRAZELED face as we walked into the clinic. Ricki had pulled her purse along the pavement frequently on the way to the hospital, pretending it was a suitcase on wheels. And she continued to do so even after being given a warning and a punishment. Absolute rebellion…..And at arrival to the clinic she started clamoring for sweets from the vending machine….]
I answered that academically she was doing OK, but that her personality was and is her big disability, not the intellectual disability. So he said a few nice sentences about how most people have no idea what raising a special child is like, and the fact that it is an ongoing each-and-every-day affair is what makes it difficult. I laughed, and said that when I go to see new parents, I tell them that its not as bad as people think, but that if someone says it isn’t hard, they are trying to give you a “sell”. “It’s not called a “test” for nothing….”

Yes, courage is continuing to do behavior modification even when you would swear it isn’t helping that much.
Courage is finding that deep-seated belief you have in your child, even when others can’t see it.
Courage is toilet training a young special-needs child for three years, day after day, if that is what it takes. (It took me a long time with Ricki; other parents manage to finish much more quickly.....)

Courage is ____________ (fill in the blank). We all have “tests”, whether it is a special needs child, a financial problem, or keeping peace in a marriage or family. We have to hold on, not give up too easily….. and try again tomorrow.

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