Strength for the Climb

My blog is a personal journey of the blessings I have been entrusted with and the strength I have been given to make the climb. I invite you to follow along as I write about faith, family, and Down syndrome.

Milestones & Milemarkers

Determination.

Jack army crawling at 15 months

I am proud of Jack...I know he simply works harder to accomplish things than if he didn't have an extra special chromosome.

Last July (when Jack was 4 months old) we had an appointment at a hospital that invovled a speech pathologist who gave us information regarding the thickening of my milk due to

aspiration

and along with that they invited an occupational therapist in for a few minutes to do a quick evaluation.  She had done an assessment on him in less than five minutes and then left the room.  Two weeks later we received a letter with a summary of her evaluation.  I was in tears.  I read it and when she referenced that he was below average than typical kids I was defeated.  I was thinking, no, not my Jack, he is doing great!  Does she know he rolled over at 6 weeks?  Does she know he can transfer objects to each hand?  Does she know???...blah, blah, blah.  

Then I started justifying that she was only there for a few minutes, that she had gotten some of his basic info wrong, she didn't know Jack.   But I had to ask myself if I was seeking achievement in these milestones.  Was I thinking that his value was coming from what he could do and at what timeline he was on compared to the books I was reading about kids with Ds.  Was there pressure to show the world that he wasn't any different than typical kids?  Jack had hit many of the milestones in the 'average' timeline and then they came a little slower.  The time from when he sat up to when he started crawling seemed like years.  I called Jenny and she mentioned the word plateau and it was exactly how things were going.  The plateau, Jack had hit a plateau in his development.  And the gap was getting wider.    

Milestones.    

As the weeks went on I thought to myself, if I am constantly going to be looking around Jack at what others his age are going to do, I am going to miss the very milestones that he IS reaching.  I am going to miss his life watching everyone else's. I recognized that the disappointment came when I wanted him to do things because of many of my own selfish desires.  

But really...is it about ME?  But I started with the question...Why are you sad about this?  Is this about me and what I want?

Which leads me to the wide road that many of us take...

the comparison trap

.  We look to the left or the right and we have the temptation to base our value on how we measure up to them.  We see other people doing things, buying things, going places, what their kids are doing/not doing, the size of their waistband, the jobs they have...it can all be apart of

the comparison trap

...and guess what...NO ONE WINS!!  NO ONE!  There will always be someone better, bigger, wealthier, smarter, prettier, stronger, more talented and then we realize we never really measure up.  

Aren't we all really running our own race? 

I Corinthians 9:24 

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives 

the prize? So 

run that you may obtain it.

I love the metaphors you can get from running.  I wasn't always a runner and actually in college someone made a comment that I wasn't the 'runner type'.  Thankfully, comments like that only fuel my gas tank and make me run harder.  :)  

As I have mentioned before, running is my therapy and I find myself understanding God more through my times of reflection during my runs.  I started running in high school after golf practice and before late night volleyball practice.  I lived in a very small town 10 miles from 'the big city' so it was something to do before the next practice.  I found myself leaving everything that was pressing on my heart out on the road.  I continued running through college for a hobby and I never thought I would enjoy long distance running.   I seriously can't express how much running has done for my life.  I started going farther and farther.  Then I signed up for a marathon...

My biggest challenge is myself, in the goal I place on myself.  My first marathon was miserable.  I didn't train well, I knew I could do better.  I knew I could go faster.  So I kept moving forward.  One step gets me closer to the finish line.  The milemarkers came faster.  And faster.  And faster...and the last three marathons I  have had a sweat sister to push and encourage me.  Isn't life (and running) so much better when you have someone to do it with?  

Having a child with a developmental delay, I could so easily become discouraged in what he 'should' be doing at his age.  He will eventually get to these milestones, we just get to enjoy each one longer.  :) When I truly accepted the fact that he is 'running his own race' my eyes were open to the amazing effort it takes for him to achieve each milestone.  When I am tempted with that comparison trap, I acknowledge that I don't want anyone else's child, I want Jack, and he is working SO much harder than others to achieve each milestone.  

The best way I can describe how I feel when celebrating Jack's milestones is when you go to a marathon and you watch the fast runners gliding past the mile markers as if they are floating, looking as if there was no effort.  As you continue to watch the runners past the pace gets slower, you start to see the effort that it's taking for the runners to take each step forward.  The determination in their whole body to get to that finish line.  The effort that it takes to mentally, physically, and emotionally to keep going.  Don't give up.  I can't go to a race anymore without my eyes filling with tears. 

Watching my sweet Jack make efforts to move makes me so proud of his determination.  

I could have given up when I crossed that line after the first marathon.  But 1000 of miles later, with a lot of sweat, tears, and amazing memories I have passed those milemarkers faster and faster.  

Here was the devotional that I read on the morning of the Twin Cities 10 mile...1st race post Jack's birth....

Jesus Calling-October 

Be willing to follow wherever I lead.  Follow Me wholeheartedly, with glad anticipation quickening your pace.  Though you don't know what lies ahead, I know; and that is enough!  Some of my richest blessings are just around the bend: out of sight, but nonetheless very real.  To receive these gifts, you must walk by faith-not by sight.  This doesn't mean closing your eyes to what is all around you.  It means subordinating the visible world to the invisible Shepherd of your soul.

Sometimes I lead you up a high mountain with only My hand to support you.  The higher you climb, the more spectacular the view becomes; also, the more keenly you sense your seperation from the world with all its problems.  This frees you to experience exuberantly the joyous reality of My Presence.  Give yourself fully to these Glory-moments, awash in dazzling Light.  I will eventually lead you down the mountain, back into community with others.  Let My Light continue to shine within you as you walk among people again.

We continue to learn through each of these milestones and milemarkers...and boy has Jack taught us how to CELEBRATE big time!