A few years ago, I had been feeling overwhelmed and victimized by Chloe’s special needs. I was feeling a little bit like Chloe’s diagnosis had stolen the life I had planned and completely taken over everything. I felt like everything I had ever wanted had been indefinitely delayed because of Chloe’s developmental delays and I did not like feeling as though I had no control in my own life. Well, I learned long ago that when I start to feel like a victim, I have to dig deep and find a way to become the victor instead.
In this case, I was stumped…. I felt defeated. But I didn’t stop trying. I kept seeking a way to overcome these feelings. My answer finally came when I was looking for something to uplift a friend who is battling cancer. I found this print: What Cancer Cannot Do. Its message spoke to me. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not trying to compare Cerebral Palsy to cancer. Cancer is undoubtedly a much different battle. But I believe the underlying message of that inspirational print works with many diagnoses. When I read it, the victim within me was quickly diminished by a new sense of empowerment.
Yes, Cerebral Palsy has changed things, but it has not won and it will not win. It has given Chloe disabilities that have affected our lives, but it has not and will not disable our ability to live a happy and fulfilling life. It has not and cannot take away anything that really matters! In honor of this new-found sense of empowerment, I created this word art. The words are very similar to the cancer print, so just know that I’m taking absolutely no creative credit for this.
March is Cerebral Palsy awareness month. Sometimes I forget that Chloe has Cerebral Palsy. Chloe is just Chloe to me. Now when I think of her, I think of everything that she is, everything she teaches me, and that big beautiful personality that simply exudes joy! I think of how much sunshine Chloe brings into the lives of every single person she meets. She shines so much light! I think of how happy and how beautiful she is. It never ceases to amaze me how a child who cannot speak can offer profound wisdom through the light that dances in her eyes, how hands that have no control can touch people’s souls, and how legs and feet that don’t work can travel such an incredible journey. She most definitely is not defined by her diagnosis. Not in my world, anyway.
Image courtesy cnsfoundation.org