It’s ironic too, the emblem I chose for the splints. A football logo to celebrate the boy in him and yet, if the truth be told, he can barely sit, let alone walk. Walking and standing disappeared years ago. And what about being tackled like a football player? We’ll, he’d break. And yet, that is what I chose. But what else, would you put there? A wheelchair logo would seem silly, as if I was advertising his disability. A cat or a dog? Too childish. A color for the plastic, well, then, it wouldn’t match his clothing or his wheelchair. At least with the logo, it would invite conversation, something Dear Son loves.
While other people have baby shoes as a reminder of their baby’s first steps, I have AFO’s, or plastic foot braces and now plastic hand braces. The foot braces, that I once viewed as ugly necessities and were a pain to put on every day, are now beautiful reminders of his gorgeous little legs and the days he could walk. Days when my life and his, were full of possibilities, that one day, he might walk. Walking in his gait trainer, and even running in it, was something he loved to do. He wanted to walk more than anything. He was so proud.
It’s funny sometimes, to hear mothers talk. They talk to their kids about what it was like when they were babies or when they were little. They tell them stories of the first time they walked or other charming things they did. And as a special needs mother, or rather, mother of a special needs child, I have been blessed with a different memory…one of a child who more than anything was determined to walk and who more than anything wanted to walk and run like the other boys and to show them too, that he could run like them, well, sort of. He’d run in his gait trainer with his leg braces on, his stick legs seeming barely adequate to hold him up. And yet, the boys weren’t impressed. No, they didn’t even look at him. But he was so proud.
And now, the hand splints, molded pieces of plastic with the same logo, are a reminder of those leg braces. The leg braces, were had in a time of “possibilities”. I had the hope that one day, Dear Son might walk on his own. And now, those days are behind us. The beautiful memories of him walking and running in his gait trainer, are never to be discussed with Dear Son. How, as a mother, can I tell him how much I loved his spirit when he could walk, when he can no longer walk, no longer stand and can barely sit up. Who do I tell that to? Somehow, a twitter, just wouldn’t be enough.