Thursday, February 18, 2010

A long, slow exhale.

Think back to 1994 and the movie Forrest Gump. Jenny just took off on Forrest in the middle of the night. Upset and unsure, our hero takes off running, going back and forth across the country, gaining followers, helping the citizenry with their various issues and perhaps inadvertently inventing the grunge look. There's that great scene in the middle of the desert where it's revealed he's been running for three years, two months, 14 days and sixteen hours. He stops...turns...his followers chatter excitedly "quiet...quiet...he's gonna say something!" And he just says, "I'm pretty tired. I think I'll go home now."
What's my point? Why does there have to be a point? Can't you just enjoy the flashback to a great movie? God, you're greedy.
(quick sidenote...I never tire of this film. I would watch it ten times just for the scenes with the drill sergeant. I'm laughing just thinking about it. But I digress.)
Ok, so there's a point; when there's this much time between blog posts, I feel like I need to come up with something for my followers that's really clever and poignant and inspirational...and I don't always have it. So I apologize in advance for a lack of, uh, whatever it is you're looking for that I'm not delivering.
A quick update. Basketball season has ended. Wins were tough to come by (we finished 5-15) but the kids never stopped working hard, they improved exponentially and I think we've set ourselves up for a strong run next season. Emily was a big hit with the team and they were genuinely annoyed when hearing their mascot would not be in attendance at games. Kate and Gram were troopers about trying to get her there, but it's tough chasing after an active 16 to 18 month old when you're trying to watch the action. Plus, as soon as Ems would get in the gym and see me, she would just point at me, call out "Daddy!" and try to run across the floor. LOVE her.
But now that the season is over, my schedule has opened up tremendously. I'll actually be home and awake for more than 90 minutes a night (I definitely saw my team FAR more than my own family this's helpful that the girls on my team are really nice.) Throw in the fact that it's February break, and I've been able to spend more time with my two favorite ladies in the last three days than I have in the last three months. You know what I've found? I kinda like 'em.
I know, I want to hear about the kid. Well, I don't blame you. Because she's awesome. Non-stop. Constantly going and playing and talking and everything you'd expect out of an 18-month old with the whole world in front of her. She's on her second pair of lifted New Balance (not stolen shoes, mind you...her second pair of shoes with one three-inch lift) and she wears them all the time. If she doesn't wear them, no biggie, because she's strolling around regardless. It's hard to describe...she just does so well. And I get it, every parent has a kid who is the smartest, cutest, most coordinated, blahblahblah. Johnny's vocabulary is so advanced! Sally's walking at 10 months! Susie's been invited to compete in the Future Tramps Pageant! But when you've got a kid with a significant disability, that forces you to adjust expectations a bit. The thing is, she won't let us. She just won't stop. You get the feeling she doesn't have it in her to stop. Add to it the fact that she actually might be the smartest, cutest, blahblahblah...and we're getting a daily lesson in how to handle adversity. Emily's method? Plow through it. Laughing.
I suppose that's one of the reasons why I haven't been posting as often (aside from the 13-hour work days for the last three months.) Initially this was my therapy session. By putting my thoughts out into the blogosphere and hearing back from all of you made this somehow manageable. Maybe it will work out. It did for some people! We'll get this leg thing taken care of. Or, maybe we won't. But either way, she'll be fine. Right? Won't she? Sure, she will. Why not.
It's been a year since we first met with Dr. Paley. A year since we finally turned the corner from constant doubt to that first flicker of confidence. I don't have those doubts anymore, or at least not as often. I'm not looking for the same reassurance. As I watch her grow and mature and develop into the dynamo that she is, I know she'll be fine. I know she can fight through it. And I've got a world-renowned doctor who's going to do his part to make sure it happens.
But there's more. I recently heard from a young lady named Aeryn who is a student at University of Michigan. Much like Emily, Aeryn was born with unilateral PFFD which affected her right leg. Through four separate lengthenings at the hands of Dr. Herzenberg in Maryland, Aeryn was able to make up an astounding 14 inch discrepancy between her right and left leg. (Even as I write that, it seems beyond the realm of possibility. 14 inches. Stunning.) When she graduates next December, she'll make that walk with two equal legs. While she admits the process isn't for everyone, she says that it's "ABSOLUTELY worth it."
We got this.