I’ve been contemplating writing this post for days. It seems that each time I sit down to write I am flooded with a wave of emotions that take my breath away and leave me wading through my thoughts, questions, wonderings. Writing forces me to confront what I often times retreat from facing. Today is no different. Although, this post has a happy ending. :)
Let me begin with what Elijah has been up to since his surgery last November, which left him off his feet again. He was again restricted to his wheelchair (interesting that I used to say “a” wheelchair and now it naturally comes out “his” wheelchair) with no weight being permitted on his legs/hip. Weeks and weeks went by as we tried our best to keep him down and off his feet, which was nothing short of a miracle. He slowly weaned his way to 1/4, 1/2 weight bearing, onto crutches, and then finally after 4 months he got the green light to walk only, but full weight bearing all while doing physical therapy 2-3 times a week. I was riddled with fear and joy as he took his first few steps……..and, although wobbly and certainly not graceful, they felt like steps toward freedom.
Now, while facing so many physical challenges he was also combating being a 7th grade boy (which I know nothing about having 2 daughters before him). Elijah has always been very social, extremely competitive, a stellar student, and up for just about any experience that involves people and competing. However, this year we began to see him really begin to wrestle with who he was before Perthes, who he is now with Perthes, and who he hopes to become. It has been hard to watch him watch his buddies continue to play ball as he tries to distract himself with other activities. His French teacher, who has been a precious and powerful mentor to Elijah this year, called me and said that Elijah stated to her, “I don’t know who to be without my crutches.” This crushed me. Middle school is a time when kids are searching and discovering their identities and my boy was connecting his to his disease. There is so much more to him than Perthes. He’s beginning to see that, too. His story was meant to be different.
Fast forward to this past week and Elijah finds himself back at the specialist’s for a check up. Cue the X-ray, the range of motion evaluation, the leg length measurement, the zillion pain questions, AND………….BAM. The words out of his surgeon’s mouth soared, “Elijah, based on what I am seeing, I am confident enough to release you back to full activity!” Now, these words carry so much weight because they are a permit to return to some of the sports he loves, but they are words also laced with hard work, pain, likely some rejection, and uncertainty. Perthes is not like an injury that you just bounce back from for it changes your skeletal make up forcing you to relearn, readjust, re……everything. So, like Elijah, we don’t really know where his steps will lead and how they’ll look, but we know we can trust HIS leading.
If you thought that was the happiest news, It. Gets. Better. We have prayed and agonized and prayed asking the Lord to not waste our pain, Elijah’s pain, but instead to use it for good, for His glory. We have tried to share, encourage, inform, and care for others along this journey. Just recently we had the pleasure of meeting the President of Cleats 4 Kids, a non-profit working to outfit student athletes in the Cincinnati area who are in need of equipment in order to play sports and attend school with durable kicks to call their own. Sports? Students? Equipment? School? Can you say, kindred spirits? Elijah was so incredibly pumped that he asked to kick off his first action for his Might-E1 Foundation by doing a gym shoes drive and committed to collecting 250 new or gently used gym shoes to get distributed to students in need of shoes for sports and school in the Queen City! Cleats 4 Kids happily and gratefully obliged. So, here is where YOU get to roll up your sleeves, dig out, or buy up gym shoes, kid’s sizes - adult, and help us get them on the feet of a child who needs a step in the right direction! You can drop them to us……or we are more than happy to pick up from you. Either way, the kids win! Flyer below. Feel free to get your kids involved and share!
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for walking alongside us on this treacherous journey. Thank you for loving us and being patient with us as we seek to do the greater good in less than desirable circumstances. Thank you for checking in on us. Thank you for praying. Thank you for loving our son. Please continue to do so, as he attempts to…..#pimpthatlimp. :) From my momma heart,