Tag Archives: Intense Physical Therapy

A Father’s Love.

17 Jun

I have always been a daddy’s girl, and that fact hasn’t changed even though I’m no longer a little girl. When I was growing up, my dad was my number one supporter. Though I know that my mom supported and loved me as well, there’s something really special about the relationship between a father and his daughter that can’t be replaced by any other kind of love.

Besides loving and supporting me completely and without hesitation, my dad has taught me practically everything I know about life, love, and what it means to chase my dreams and follow my heart. However, one of the greatest things about my dad is the fact that he understands me. He understands my feelings so well that more often than not I don’t have to say much of anything for him to know how I’m feeling. There’s something really incredible about knowing someone who is connected with you in such a way where you don’t even have to say a word for them to know what you’re trying to say.

I remember one specific memory from Shriner’s after my first intense operation in 2003. I had intense physical therapy at Shriner’s twice a day, and my mom and dad switched off every few weeks in terms of who was staying with me at Shriner’s Hospital in Greenville, SC. My dad was unable to be at Shriner’s as much as my mom could, but he was there as much as possible. Anyway, I remember one day right before going to PT. I had to be put into a small wheelchair with my legs strapped down into a bent position. I should also point out that before my intense PT I was in long-leg casts for eight weeks. Therefore, attempting to bend your knees after having your legs completely straight for eight weeks is a kind of pain that I can’t even begin to describe. Anyway, my dad was attempting to strap my legs down, but even before he put the leg plates on the wheelchair in a position where my knees would have to be bent, I started to cry. Not small whimpers, but the kind of sobs that come up out of your chest when you’re scared, in pain, and can hardly breathe. Even though my dad knew that he had to have my knees bent before taking me to PT, he couldn’t do it. I remember looking at him to see the anguish, fear and pain that I was feeling mirrored on his face as well. It was one of the first vivid memories that I have of my dad crying. Even though I didn’t know it at the time, this was a memory that I would come back to in my mind every time I was trying to describe the intense love that my dad has for me. I come back to this memory not because it brought me pain and fear, but because even though it shows my dad’s love for me, it also shows his empathetic nature that I have found within myself over the past few years.

Webster’s dictionary defines love as “an intense feeling of deep affection,” which seems fitting since scientists and poets and musicians alike have all been looking for the true definition of love for centuries. As well as teaching me empathy, my dad has also taught me what love truly is. From holding his hand ever since I was a little girl to the recent days of listening to him relearn how to play the guitar, I have known what love is through my dad’s expression of it towards me. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful to have such an amazing father in my life. And even though I am getting older, I know that my dad will always be here to welcome me home into one of his hugs that holds more love than I can even express. So yes, today is Father’s Day, the day that we go out of our way to tell our dads how much they mean to us. However, for me, every day is Father’s Day. No amount of words can express the insane amount of love I have for the man who taught me to follow my heart, no matter what.

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person: he believed in me.”

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A Moment Of Being A “Normal” Kid.

28 May

It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while I think back to the years before my surgeries and intense physical therapy, the years that I got to be a normal kid like everyone else my age (excluding the fact that even then, I was going to physical therapy twice a week).

I played t-ball and coach’s pitch before all my surgeries, and when I think back on those years, I remember just how happy I was. Even though I still walked different during that time (as I have my entire life), I was able to do everything that every other kid on the baseball team could do. I cheered in the dugout, went up to bat, stood in the outfield waiting for a ball, and walked with the rest of my team to high-five the other time while saying “good game,” even if we lost. As well as feeling like a normal kid, I was also able to be part of a team, and looking back, that meant so much to me. I don’t remember being made fun of during those moments, and though I probably was, I can’t remember it, and that’s when you know you’ve got special memories.

Specifically, I remember one of the games when I played coach’s pitch. I was up to bat, and Mr. Richard, my coach, stood on the mound smiling at me. He pitched the ball, and even though I hit it, it didn’t go far. It landed close to Mr. Richard’s feet. Even though there was a player from the other team standing behind Mr. Richard, Mr. Richard grabbed the ball and kept it away from him. At the time, when I was running to first base, I didn’t know what was going on. I just knew that the first baseman hadn’t caught the ball yet, so I kept running. As I was almost near third base, the biggest grin spread across my face as I realized what Mr. Richard had done: he was giving me my very first home run. I remember running as fast as I could from third base to home plate, and as soon as my feet touched home plate, everyone in the crowd jumped to their feet and cheered for me. In that moment, I felt like I was on top of the world, and more than that, despite my limitations, I had made a home run, just like every other kid on the team had at one time or another. It was a magical moment. There’s no other way to describe it.

I think about Mr. Richard every once in a while, and even though I haven’t seen him since I was a kid, I sit and wonder if I ever thanked him. I’m sure I must have, in one way or another. Whether I thanked him through the huge grin that remained on my face through that entire game or through one of the countless hugs that he became so accustomed to receiving from me, I’m sure he could tell how grateful I was for that moment that he gave me. However, sometimes I wish that I could explain that for me, that moment is one of the most special moments I’ve ever had. I got to be like a normal kid, and I got to feel the rush of happiness and excitement that comes with completing a home run. If only for one night, I wasn’t someone with Cerebral Palsy. I was a baseball player, a team member, and probably one of the happiest people in my small town, even if only for a moment.