Saturday morning I was at my regular yoga class when I saw a lady whom I recognized, yet could not place.
I approached her ready to ask, “Do I know you?” When it hit me……she was Summer’s first therapist. So instead, I asked, “Do you work at the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre?”
She replied “yes - you’re Summer’s Mom!” And then I proceeded to update her on Summer’s progress since this physical therapist last saw her seven years ago.
Wow - what a trip down memory lane……so many moons ago.
I then spent the day thinking about the early years with Summer - and how very challenging they were. You see, Summer wasn’t independent at all. Her muscles were weak so she was struggling with gross motor and fine motor skills. To think that Summer was 18 months and she wasn’t mobile, couldn’t speak and needed help eating and all other activities.
Meanwhile in the background, we had a super energetic four-year-old-boy, who couldn’t understand why his sister was getting so much attention and couldn’t understand why she screamed all the time.
To be honest, I have few memories from that time as I believe that I’ve simply blocked it all out.
She started with the physical therapist to gain muscle strength in her legs so that she could hold herself up, then cruise and eventually walk after one year of therapy.
Boy, have “we” ever moved the marker on her gross motor skills.
Now, Summer rides her scooter, swims without a life jacket, drives a tricycle, jumps on trampolines and loves swinging and hanging from the monkey bars.
While I always celebrate the small successes and am a positive person, I rarely go back and revisit the early days.
Those days were survival days - treading water, medical appointments, tests, paperwork and processing all of the emotions of shock, grief, fear, etc.
I’m glad that I’m able to go back now and simply be grateful for all that Summer has accomplished and all of the wonderful people who we’ve met along the way.
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I am grateful that I get to spend this time with her and her brother. I will honour this time of a more relaxed schedule.
Whichever route a family chooses, what matters is knowing when to ask for help and how to get the right help to care for any family member that needs an additional helping hand.