The Mathews

The Mathews

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Year of Unexpecteds

Can't...Won't...Unsure...We'll Just Have to Wait and See...all terms that hit our family head-on this past year came to a screeching halt once they realized a key trait of our family:  stubbornness.  

From the start Andy displayed this character trait even before he was born.  During each ultrasound, Andy remained breech (probably laughing at us) - not allowing doctors to view his back.   Today as I look back, I view this reoccurring behavior as a mischievous grin at failure to comply with norm or authority. 

After birth, Andy's smile and laugh became contagious.   Doctors watched in amazement as he began to sit up, move his legs, suck on his toes, refuse to roll over (even though he could), and even crawl.   None of these acts were expected, and many of them took a while to accomplish, but boy did he blossom.  

Andy's eagerness to join the "body slam" events in the living room have encouraged him to climb mini-mountains (couch cushions, stairs, and the occasional body that is in the way), scale the hearth by the fireplace (after stopping to grind his teeth on the cement), and master the art of turning on & off alligator tears to seek what he desires.  

Andy's family contributions have been inundated by doctor visits.   Some received negative comments, others merely nodded at his progress, and a few gave us positive reassurance (we like those doctors).   Andy's positive attitude, ever-contagious smile, and daily dose of family "love" pushed him further.  

Robby has become a self-diagnosed PT this year.  First, he convinced Andy to roll over by simply hurling him onto his back or stomach.   Later, he completed joint compressions (yes, he even says those words) on Andy's legs, & encouraged him to crawl by stealing away Andy's toys.   The everyday bumps and bruises have ensure Andy a childhood as close to "normal" as possible.  

I, too, have grown this year when the unexpecteds came up.   I never thought I would know as many different pediatric specialists as I do now.   How the human body works takes on a whole new meaning.   I didn't think I would really celebrate when my baby pooped, cheer him on to "eat" (now that is an unheard of in our family), and seal my lips when he crawls away while changing a diaper (even though you want to yell - lay still, I can't bring myself to use those words).   I let Andy stand up on the church pew and flirt with the older members of the congregation; they love it, and I am proud that he is able to stand.   True, I have fine-tuned the art of multi-tasking between multiple occupations:  teaching, mothering, being a wife, chauffeuring, medical assistant, laundry expert, appointment negotiator, and calendar coordinator.   I would like to think that I have become more patient in the process, but it really depends on the day.  

Each day we have learned to thank God for the gifts we have received.   The support, prayers, and positive thoughts have outnumbered our endless hours at the hospital and doctors' offices.   We have meet families experiencing the same unknowns that Spina Bifida challenges us with, and have found peace and reassurance in their advice.   Thank God for family, and their willingness to do whatever we need!  

A year of unexpecteds - yes, but what a blessing they have been.   Happy Birthday dear Andy; we can't wait to see what you accomplish this year as well!