In my last entry I talked about the reasoning why my life took a sudden turn, well, not only my own but my wife as well. The welcoming of our premature daughter presented its own hurdles, and the information that she would be developmentally disabled as a result of that situation was something that hit us pretty hard as parents. When you have your first child on the way, you always think of what the future will be. How they will turn out, the things they will do, the type of parents you’ll be. One thing that rarely crosses your mind is what you’re going to do if faced with the proposition that raising your child will be challenging, and that they themselves will face challenges.
It certainly wasn’t something we thought about, well I can only speak for myself. My life wasn’t anything to write home about, and I always assumed that any children that I had would be able to face the world on the back of my situations, the work that I put into their life, and be able to do something that would put my life to shame. Not that I wasn’t happy, I just know that I’m not going to be winning any Nobel prizes any time soon, or coming across with the cure for cancer, and that’s ok with me, because maybe the work I was doing, was laying the groundwork so that my children could be the ones to do so. I assume it’s something that a fair bit of parents secretly hope as they go through their lives.
But when I learned that the chances of that happening were slim, it kind of lit a fire under me to do something more. More than my roofing job, and in doing so, maybe still find a way to make her life easier. As she came forward to her first birthday, we had already read a bunch of books when it came to raising a child with any form of disability. And as she neared her second birthday, we started to become aware of what challenges would be facing her. She had a slow reaction time to things, her grip strength wasn’t the best, but man did she ever love to play with toys. It was her favorite time of day.
By the time her third birthday rolled around, we had dedicated an entire room of our house to her toys. She would spend hours a day, playing with her favorites, and encircling her no so favorites around them so that they still felt included. It was through watching her personal playstyle, and a lot of forums on which other parents with disabilities had shared their own stories, that I began to think of what it was that I could do to not only help her, but ourselves, and maybe some other families as well. So I went to the drawing board, with her favorite toy in hand, and began to brainstorm.