The Bright Green Ribbon
According to MayoClinic, Cerebral Palsy is "is a group of disorders that affect movement and muscle tone or posture. It's caused by damage that occurs to the immature brain as it develops, most often before birth. Signs and symptoms appear during infancy or preschool years",
What we see when look at Cerebral Palsy from the outside is a expanse of different abilities and differences.
When Hank was 2, he was diagnosed with Spastic Dystonic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, Grade V. Say that 5 times fast.
It means: Hank's muscles spend their time stiff and rigid due to damage to the Motor Cortex (Spastic). Hank's muscles have involuntary movements due to damage to the Basal Ganglia (Dystonic). All 4 of Hank's limbs are affected (Quadriplegic) and he has no independent functionality (Grade V).
Associated Impairments include being non-verbal, saliva control issues, intellectual impairment. Check, Check, Check.
What else does CP mean? Cerebral Palsy means that we are taught each day to value the preciousness of life itself. Every morning, my legs carry me out of my room and through my house. Each day I perform intellectual tasks and have no worry of seizing. My eye sight is fine and my speech is clear.
Cerebral Palsy means that each day, Hank shows us the world from his eyes. We see the fun in big trucks, school buses, bicycles, and fast cars. We find the funny in sounds and textures. We find peace in cuddles and kisses.
Cerebral Palsy means the world is a little different than "normal" and that maybe normal isn't always what it's cracked up to be. Maybe we should all sit down and watch. Maybe we should all close our mouths and listen. Maybe everyone should run their hand through the paint and feel it. We would all smile a little more if we enjoyed the electric trains and remote control cars.
It isn't always sad when a child has a disability. Sometimes that child provides joy and peace, their lives reminding us how beautifully fragile this whole place is. They love unconditionally, they experience joy unabashed, they live without abandon.
For March, for Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, please share a photo of Hank on your social media, and share what his CP means to you.
To me, it's work. It's hard. It hurts. It's draining.
It's joy. It's peace and comfort. It's learning and adapting. It's teaching and sharing. It's knowing that life can be so simple if we will enjoy it.