There's no cure and we will live with cerebral palsy our whole lives - it will never 'go away' and we will never 'grow out of it'.
Everyone wants their child to be like all other kids... to be able to run fast in the athletics events and swim for a ribbon at the swimming carnival. They want their kids to be great readers, maybe even a little tiny bit smarter than most of the kids in the class. They want their child to be kind and brave, clever and happy.
When I was tiny, my family realised that their dreams for me were just as important, but the dreams might have to change a little bit.
I'm 22 months old. I don't sit up, yet. I can't crawl, yet. I can't tell Mum and Dad how much I love them - with my words, yet. I'm not even close to being ready to be toilet trained, yet. If Mum and Dad measured my performances against my peers, they'd be devastated by how little I have achieved. But, my Mum and Dad have a boy with special needs... a boy with cerebral palsy, and they have to measure performances differently.
Like... I came home breathing all by myself! We didn't know whether I would be able to do that!
I came home drinking Mum's milk. Many, many people told Mum I would not be able to do that! Now, I am eating chunks in my food, and we never knew whether I'd be able to do that. Sure, I am really just mushing a lot of the food,not chewing it... but we all know I can bite. I've left evidence on Mum and Dad's fingers! I almost made them bleed, so, hopefully, chewing will happen soon.
I am getting much stronger in my torso and and holding my head higher and higher, for longer and longer! I roll over easily now and I am getting around the room, using my own unique style.
Once, Mum left my sister and I while she had a shower. No one else was home and Charlotte started to cry. I get really worried when she cries and no one helps her... There was no one else, so I knew I had to help her. I move across the room. I often can't see, but I followed her voice, like my family have taught me. I found my sister and I held her foot. I wanted her to know she was ok.
Maybe I'm not like most kids my age. But... I'm kind and brave, clever and happy. So I might not be the 'best reader in my class', but my family have had to learn that we measure things differently. We measure what really counts... the little things. The perseverance and the triumphs. We count the smiles and my world is so filled with love and encouragement that I have no option but to be a brave and determined Little Man.
Everyday, my family helps me with therapy. Everyday, they do things to help me... even when they don't see immediate results, they keep doing things for me.
Mum hurts me a little when she stretches out my hips, and Dad watches bravely. I clench my fists and turn my head, but I don't even really complain. I don't like it, but I know Mum and Dad are helping me... helping my future. They listen to people with experiences beyond our own and adjust things for me. They stand up and fight for me, when they feel they need to.
They love me, everyday, without question.
Today is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day in America. In my family's life, everyday is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. Wear some green and spread some awareness.