Moving Mountains By Sitting

I love my son. All of my sons. And my daughter too, since we're on the topic. But there are some days I look at Jumby and I wonder "Holy hell, what am I doing?"

Don't get me wrong, I know what I'm doing. Except for those times I don't. Which are often. But I feel that way every day raising my teenagers. Human beings befuddle me regardless of their age, their health and their sex. This should be no surprise to anyone. My parents never let me out of the basement to play with others. I'm socially stunted.

I'm totally kidding. Well, about the basement part anyways. The only thing my parents kept in the basement was my brother. And bunnies. True fact. But they let my brother out. They even fed him occasionally. The bunnies they pretty much ignored, seeing as how they were my responsibility. As a parent to teens now, there would be no way I'd have a cage filled with bunnies in my basement. Bunnies are evil. Don't buy into their hype.

I didn't sleep much last night? Can you tell? Chalk it up to a dog that spent the entire night barking at the bunnies outside (further proof that bunnies are Satan's pets) and a teen boy who decided to empty an entire box of mothballs right underneath my bedroom window next to my bed. Not only does my room still reek of fetid skunk from last week but now it also smells like an arthritic geriatric person is rotting underneath my bed.

The smell is enough to drive to criminal cranky town. Just look for me. I'm there. Hurling tomatoes at the happy people.

Where was I?

Oh right. I woke up this morning feeling old and crabby and when my calendar app chimed a reminder that my youngest son had yet another medical appointment this afternoon, I was suddenly overwhelmed too.

There are days when raising a deaf, blind, quadriplegic, developmentally delayed, diapered and tube-fed child feels a bit like being steamrollered.

Today was shaping up to feel like one of those days.

Picture Sisyphus and a giant boulder. That's often how it feels raising special needs kids. And even the sanest most loving parent sometimes feels a bit flattened by the process.

And yet, like every other parent in the world, I carry on. I drove Fric to her volleyball practice, reminded Frac to shower and wrestled Jumby into his hearing aides and splints.

I parented and yawned and cursed mothballs and bunnies and yippy dogs as I went.

And then the house was empty and so I poured myself a cup of coffee and sat down at my computer.

And that's when I noticed Jumbster's iPad had synched with my computer via iCloud.

New pictures of the Jumbster, just waiting to be sorted and viewed.

And there it was.

A picture of my quadriplegic son, sitting, unassisted by himself, like any other boy in the world.

Just sitting. Not squatting on his legs for balance, not leaning, just simply sitting.

Years worth of love and hard work and therapy finally paying off. One teeny tiny goal realized.

He still can't sit independently. Not for more than a minute. But it's a full minute more than we've ever had before. And maybe it will mean that one day he can sit in a normal chair, outside of his wheelchair.

Sitting, unassisted in furniture would open up the world to him. To me. To our family.

It's not much and yet it's such a huge accomplishment. Jumby won't get the big milestones of drivers licences and first dates. He will likely never get a first step all by himself. But he gets this. A celebration of everything he has overcome and everything he has mastered. Even something simple as sitting for sixty seconds.

All those tiny little baby steps he's taken, all the set backs and the weight of hope we carry in our souls for him and there it was. Proof of progress made and of mountains climbed.

Photographic evidence of hope realized.

With one little picture, he reminds us that he never gives up. And neither should I.

Jumby gets hope. And then he gives it out to everyone he comes into contact with.

Even grumpy mothers who overdosed on inhaling mothballs.
 The day just suddenly got a little bit better. Bunnies be damned.

What's this about bunnies?