Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 16

Day 16: A picture of someone who inspires you

Our beautiful boy
Is it possible to be inspired by an almost-two year old?

Our morning started with breakfast. Me, an english muffin and Jack, toddler formula through a tube to his belly. The room is quiet and dark, Baby Einstein is on the TV and Jack is sitting patiently in his toddler rocker chair. He spends about four hours in this chair every day being fed.

I finish feeding Jack and it's time to get dressed and ready for physical therapy. Today is a big day because Jack is getting a cast on his left foot for an AFO (ankle foot orthodic). The therapist arrives to a friendly "hi" from Jack. I watch as she casts his foot and leg using strips of special material dipped in water. She ends by measuring the length of his foot. During this, I get to pick out the color for the AFO from a swatch, much like one picks out paint for a new house. I settle on blue. Always blue. It will match his hand brace. I skip over the bright and playful fabrics of cars, boats, flowers and multi-colors because (I think) how will this match everything he wears? I then realize in a year or so he will be choosing his own AFO colors for each new brace as he grows.

Again, Jack sits patiently through all this, sometimes jabbering, always soaking it all in. As the therapist adds the finishing touches to the cast, our doorbell rings and Jack's other physical therapist arrives for our normal 9:30 appointment. Again, Jack says "hi" and away they go. Lots of push-ups, arm strengthening exercises and stretching happens.

 I can tell Jack is exhausted. He had his monthly Synagis vaccine appointment yesterday. He gets a shot in both legs and is normally pretty sore for a couple days after. He is getting tired, but he and the therapist keep pushing, pushing, pushing. They are working on an exercise ball, trying to strenghthen his core muscles. Trying to work on balance. He is doing so well. He is in pain and even throughout his screams of frustration and exersion, he cracks a smile, gives a kiss, and has a twinkle in his eye.

The hour comes to an end. The therapist leaves and it's time for lunch...

Throughout our morning, I considered what it must be like to live in Jack's shoes. What is he thinking? What is he feeling? What is his "normal" like? Does he think "why are they always doing stuff to me?" Jack has been poked, prodded, and pushed physically and emotionally since birth. He has been expected to grow, develop, and work consistently at goals, even when his brain tells his body that it cannot be done.

Jack is pure joy. Joy in the midst of endless physical and mental anguish. Joy in the midst of pain. Joy in the midst of isolation. Recently he has discovered tantrums and ways to show his disapproval for things and we thank God for this. For awhile, we wondered if he even felt pain because he rarely cried or showed discomfort.

He has gone through so much more in his almost-two years of life than most of us ever will. He is my inspiration. How can I complain about a small procedure at the dermatologist office? Never again. Or about going to the dentist? Never again. How can I complain about working out and getting exercise? Never again. I can use my limbs. Enough said.
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Shannon said...

Well said, Jessi. I am inspired every single day by my 19 month old and my 5 year old. They sure do help put things in perspective, don't they?! What an incredible picture of Jack, by the way!!

Brandi said...

Beautiful. He will continue to amaze us! His strength and joy is an inspiration to all who know him.

Julie said...

I love this post and a peek into your day. Every time I see a picture of Jack, I get a piece of that joy...he is pure sweetness and I love that he's throwing tantrums. Funny the things one can be grateful for, huh? :) Love ya.

katieoz said...

*huge sigh* beautiful. what a beautiful little man you have. Your family randomly popped into my head this morning (each of your faces). I just thanked God for what an amazing life Jack has already led and can't imagine how much more good he has in store (mixed with the beyond difficult). He's an incredible little guy. I also thanked God that he has parents who are so in love with him and dedicated to him...as all children should. Also asked that God would be ever-present with you to just give you strength every minute of each new/old struggle.

Your appreciation for life and realization of the pettiness of the things we often times call "struggles" challenges me to toughen up, stop being so blind to everything I've been given and be thankful.

Babs said...

This is an amazing post, Jessi. I have no idea what you face everyday. Or, what Jack faces everyday. Thank you for sharing your inspiration.

Rebekah said...

I love you sweetie! Thanks for allow us to have a little look into your day and your amazing little man. You inspire me.

Jessi said...

Thank you all for the kind words and prayers... means more than you know.

Emily Real said...

Beautifully written, Jessi! You also are an inspiration!