Most people live their entire life without the opportunity to be noteworthy or to inspire others. Others seem to be able to inspire others simply through their attitude and life experiences. My son Lance, is one of those individuals who inspires me daily to "Never Give Up".
When you have a baby, as a mom you hope that you have learned all you need to know in this life simply to be a good parent. You hope you can protect your child from harm, give them good advice (and they take it), and teach them the things they need to know to be good citizens and good adults. As a parent and as a mom, it was important for me to know that I could always "fix" things for my kids -- make things better -- whether it was making the monsters under the bed go away, give advice about boyfriend or girlfriend trouble, help with school projects, or just wipe their tears away when they got hurt. But Lance's disease in 2001, Guillian-Barre, was a demon I couldn't fight nor control. I saw this demon virtually destroy a healthy child and reduce him to a wheelchair - unable to see, walk, or hold items. In one instant, everything I thought I knew about being a good parent was gone.
The amazing things I saw and learned from then on as a parent, however, are life lessons taught to me by my son Lance. I saw my child never give up in his pursuit to relearn to walk and to write his name. I saw him learn how to take charge of his disease -- not run away from it -- and to let people know what his weaknesses were if he required help. I watched him learn to laugh at himself, no matter where he was, when he would fall during his manner ttempts at walking. How many times over the years I watched this child of mine bravely announce his weaknesses to his teachers and advocate for his needs despite any concern for teasing or bullying by other children. I watched him thank teachers and therapists for the help offered, and in the end, more help was readily offered to him. When he was "cut" from the middle school football team 3 years in a row despite his size , I watched him continue to work out with his therapists and in the weight room while setting his sights on the "bigger picture". And in the end, I watched Lance attain, through perserverance, what he truly desired -- a starting position on his high school football team as well a Varsity Team Captain.
So what have I learned from my son, Lance? He taught me that anything important enough to obtain is worth a great deal of effort, no matter how long it takes to attain that goal. He taught me that it's okay to have weaknesses and to acknowledge them, he taught me to laugh at my mistakes but keep trying, he taught me to always thank others who help me and consequently, more help will be offered in return, and finally, he taught me that sometimes the best lessons are those you and your child learn together because those are the things that bring you closer as a family.