Sunday, January 6, 2013

Baby Steps

   Four Years, Seven months, Nine Days, it marks a date on our calendar of hard work and extraordinary effort from Ari. That day is forever etched in our minds. As a mother, father, sister, and brother we couldn't have been more elated. That day is the first day Ari walked independently. It was cause for a huge celebration in our family. It was as monumental as a birthday, it was a milestone that we thought might never happen. It was a culmination of years of physical therapy, occupational therapy, water therapy, botox, braces, walkers, & appliances. Throw in some major determination, perseverence, and of course many cheers and applause from all of the staff at the children's clinic who worked so diligently to see that day come to fruition for Ari. It was years of taking those small gradual baby steps towards success that ultimately enabled Ari to walk. Many kids and adults would have given up on walking, but Ari didn't.
   So as I started to set goals for this New Year I was reminded of my daughter's perserverence. I thought about how she still takes baby steps at physical therapy, how she is willing to try new exercises even when it challenges her body and brings her discomfort.  Several months ago she said, " I want to ask my physical therapist to teach me how to do a cartwheel". It was so endearing to hear her request. I didn't  have the heart to tell her not to ask, but I was secretly nervous that she might be deflated when she couldn't actually perform a real cartwheel!  Leave it to Ari, where there is a will, there is a way. Much to my surpise, she came home after her PT session and joyfully showed me her beautiful version of  a cartwheel. It wasn't a typical cartwheel by any means but to her it represented the movement she desired to perform. Ari has a way of tackling obstacles and challenges with remarkable joy and grace, and she has taught me so much. I have learned that it is ok to take baby steps, its ok to be unconventional, and its ok to fall down and pick yourself up and try all over again. Ari will never be able to skip, hop, run, or jump, she may never be able to do a conventional cartwheel but it doesn't matter. All that matters is that she keeps trying and she doesn't give up on herself.
We wish you  Miles of Smiles on your 2013 Journey!
- Team Ari

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