Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Living Room Dance Party

Dear Lisa,

It's going to be all right.

Yes, my dear, some of your fears will come true. The diagnosis you're so afraid of right now - cerebral palsy - will be a part of your life, as will a handful of others...hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, microcephaly, cortical visual impairment, pervasive developmental disorder, gastroparesis, and gastro esphophageal reflux disease.

And you know what? None of it really matters. Sure, you've just gone through a life-altering event. No one in your family will ever be the same.  But, your life isn't defined by diagnoses.  It's defined by the love you have for one another and the time you spend together. It's defined by dance parties in the living room.

If you could see yourself on a night three and a half years from now, I think you'd realize that you have an amazing life and that things are more than all right.

On this particular night, you've just discovered that your son likes to dance to top 40 music. You, your husband, and your precious Elijah are pounding your feet around the living room, clapping your hands, and squealing with joy. Tears wet your cheeks from laughing so hard. Joy fills the air intermixed with the beat of the music.

And even in the midst of all of this, during those moments where you are able to sit down on the chocolate brown couch and watch your two favorite men, you will think of the younger version of yourself.  You will remember sitting on this very couch after bringing Elijah home from the hospital.  You will think, "If only she could see me now.  I think she'd know that it's going to be all right."

You'll be brought back to the present at the sight of your husband scooping up Elijah from the floor and spinning around. Squeals of delight and laughter. All three of us, our tummies hurting from our joy. Your life, Lisa, is a delicate mixture of love and grief and pain and joy. It's a beautiful dance.

Your breath is fast and labored, but slowly you put your feet back on the floor again. And you dance to music with questionable lyrics and laugh.

It's going to be all right, Lisa. It really, really is.


If you could write a letter to your younger self, would you? I'm not sure that I would, but this popped into my head this week as we discovered that Elijah likes rap music :)


Anonymous said...

Have you tried Daft Punk? We've had some good dance parties in the living room with some electronic music. Eden loves it.


Cary said...

I love it! I've been having very similar feelings myself lately...about how far we've come and if only I could have know a few years back how great life was going to be...even with a CP diagnosis.

I'm going to share this on my blog!

Kathy said...

Lisa, Yes, you've gotten through it all very well and you are a wonderfully warm, fantastically loving mother! Andy is a wonderfully warm and fantastically loving father! And oh, yeah, tell Elijah I'm coming up this weekend and that he is to save a dance for his Gramma:) Love you all, GrammaMomKat

Tara Bennett said...

I love this! Do you mind if I share it on kidz?

Lisa said...

Darlene, I knew that there had to be something out there that had less questionable lyrics. Dance party is ON this weekend!

Caryanne, Thanks for sharing on your blog. :)

Mumsie, Can't wait to see you!

Tara, I don't mind at all. Share away.

Thanks to all of you for reading my words! It truly means a lot to me.

Ellen Seidman said...

Lisa, this is great. And I want you to know I get EXACTLY how you felt because I had a moment like that a couple of years ago, when we were dancing around our living room to It's Raining Sunshine. I taped Dave and the kids and, if you listen close you will hear a sob, mine, from happiness.

Yes, I would have loved a lette from my older self during the early years with Max, when everyhing seemed so bleak.

Tracey Trousdell said...

Got here from Caryanne's blog. Love this! Newly diagnosed over here, so this was great to read!

Michelle said...

Questionable lyrics are unfortunate, but a rockin beat will get anyone going! Loved this post!
And yes, I have often thought of the things I would tell my younger self. I may not be able to give my younger self comfort and perspective, but I can give it to others (if they would listen)!
And that is a pretty powerful position to be in, especially for you. I'm sure there are many parents who gain strength and are encouraged from hearing (or reading) of your experiences. Go Lisa! :) (by the way, you are a great writer)

Laura said...

Lisa this is such an awesome letter. You are really an awesome mom. I know I have only known you a few weeks but the amazing strength and courage I see that you have is so great. I read this as I get ready to go to conferences for some of my ASD/DCD students and it put everything back into perspective. As a teacher and a mother there is so much to learn in "the dance". I hope I can always teach my students, their families and my children this awesome lesson in life. Remember YOU ROCK!

Laura R

Jen said...

Simply sweet, left me teary eyed! I loved this post! God is SO GOOD, that's all I got.

GingerB said...

Yes, I feel so much better than I did at the beginning. I certainly wish I could have felt any peace about it then, as I do now/

Kristi said...

I once "talked" to my teenage self in a visualization of an event that happened at that time. Perhaps I chose my teen years for the same reason I love to help teenage girls. Because I know you can make it through and with God's strength, it will all be ok.

What a great note. I might have to write it down next time.

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