Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic Inspiration

This weekend has been rather humbling.

It started like any other - takeout night, Jonah's Treehouse for the Coop, a workout here, an Whole Foods visit there. I never saw the Olympic gold or the emergency room visit coming. Nor did I see their inevitable connection.

Saturday night Alexandre Bilodeau won Canada's first gold medal of the 2010 games. Almost as well highlighted as his unlikely mogul prowess was his older brother with whom he was best friends. His older brother, shown cheering on the sidelines with all his heart, has cerebral palsy.

After his win Alexandre was asked what was his inspiration. Most people might remember his interview for his girlfriend throwing herself at him for an olympic sized snog. I, however, can still hear his words.

"Even if it is raining, I'll take it, I'll go train," Bilodeau said. "He [brother Frederick] doesn't have that chance, and he's having a smile every morning he wakes up."

I, too, have cerebral palsy. And find myself in the Jekyll and Hyde limbo land that is to wake up smiling every morning knowing it could be a hell of a lot worse but also waking up knowing that there are many every day things I cannot do.

Hearing Bilodeau's words were inspirational. We should all greet each day to give it everything we have got, to not waste what we have been given -- no matter how flawed.

So I awoke this morning thinking how much I needed that reality check. I used to be fearless - rock climbing and water polo and rugby and national presentations in four inch heels. Clearly, I don't wallow in the negative of CP.

I have, however, found myself frustrated more often by what I cannot do, since the birth of my daughter. But today, with Bilodeau's words echoing in my head, I was mentally charged and ready to attack the day - reminded that I have so much to smile about.

Hours later I was rushing my 18 month old in to the emergency room with a deep, bloody gash in her forehead. In that moment, I was drowning in fear.

Not the fear you would think, I knew intellectually that she would be fine. The wound would heal, there was no neurological damage, she would forget about this day very soon.

All I could hear in my head was - What if she is noticeably scarred? What if she looks different than other little girls? I was all over the negative.

While I thrill at the thought that Baby C will defy stereotypes, bust through barriers and display all the traits of a baby buffalo; I want her to do so without any physical anomalies.

Illogical. I know.

I do not want her to be perfect, far from it. I want her to have ruts and ridges, just not the kind that make store clerks ask her if she has tried some new kind of therapy or have little kids stage whisper ask their mothers what's wrong with her.


I wanted to stand up and shout, "I told you so!".

I told you that all of my irrational fears would come true. I told you so when I grilled my doctor about CP lightning striking twice, I told you so when my family tried to assure me that Baby C would not face my challenges.

Yes. I told you so.

I told you life wasn't easy. Accidents will happen. Challenges must be faced. What ifs will plague you. There will be blood and tears and fear.

And even, lasting mementos of a life lived in full.

Tomorrow morning I will wake up smiling. Because I can and so can Baby C and for that I am blessed.

1 comment:

  1. Well said...a great reminder of why you inspire so many is your invincible attitude...but also your down to earth and "human" approach to life :)