SPARKS

Parenting a special needs child is a very different experience than parenting a “typical” developing child. There are pros and I suppose there are also cons for each. Being a special needs parent has given me more time with my child. He is content to sit and talk to me because his disability has prevented him from achieving independence. If there is a con side to that it would be that I also lost my independence. Free time is something that I am not often afforded. My hobbies have become things of the past. Days of painting and cross-stitching are far behind me. I do manage to fit a book or two into my schedule now and then and have recently taken up gardening after an eight year sabbatical.

I recently realized that our family needs to be in church on Wednesday nights. For years we were involved with the AWANA program in some form or another but stopped serving and attending on Wednesdays due to overload. I was in school full time, my husband works lots of hours, and Sweet G absolutely hated going to AWANA club so we called a time out that has lasted way too long.

After hearing that our men’s ministry was going to do a Bible study on the new “Courageous” movie coming out in October, I felt lead to encourage my husband to take the opportunity to get involved and take some time for himself. That was three weeks ago.

While hubby is in his Bible study Sweet G and I go to Sparks. The first week G was in his walker so we opted to not attend game time because I feared the walk would be to much for G. Last week G had a headache so we left early. This week, however, we put G in his chair and went to game time. I wasn’t sure how he’d like it since his disability makes playing the games very challenging but we tried it anyway.

Tonight was kickball night and the game leaders were unsure how to handle the situation. A friend of mine asked if G could roll the ball to the other kids and I said, “Sure, he can roll a ball.” Sweet G was so excited when I rolled him to the pitchers position he giggled, “I’m just like the Braves, I’m gonna play ball.”

It was planned for G to pitch for both teams. Problem is we forgot to include G in the decision. When the teams started to switch places G said, “Come on Momma, now I’m going to kick that ball.” Not knowing how we were going to accomplish that task, yet not daring to discourage his I can do anything attitude we wheeled up to the plate. I tried to convince him to let me swing his chair and hit the ball but he said, “No, Momma, I’m going to kick it.” So, I moved his feet plates out of the way and helped him to relax his excited legs enough to bend them. The ball was rolled and he kicked the ball (with a little help from Momma).

I am not nearly as young as I once was and why God chose to give me a special needs child later in life I don’t know but I can tell you that my knees don’t spring up the way they once did. In my slip on sandals and creaky knees I managed to get up and run to first base with my G. The pitcher caught the ball and threw it at us hitting G’s chair in the side but we just kept on running!

At one point a little boy who doesn’t know G asked, “What happened to you?” G replied in a tone that reflected his impatience, “I have CP!” It was quite comical to me but made me realize that practicing answering people’s questions might be something to work on. We forget that people don’t always know about disability and some ask what’s wrong with G. It is easy for us to think, “Duh, you don’t know what AFOs are? What’s wrong with you?”

G’s favorite part of the night came when a little girl kicked the ball and hit me in the leg. He just thought it was hilarious. The best thing is that my little boy likes SPARKS, loved game time, and is excited about going each week.” Oh, I almost forgot that he volunteered me to make cupcakes for the entire club next week! He wanted to know what other food his Momma could cook and bring! Little stinker! I know what I’ll be doing next Wednesday while he’s in therapy, baking cupcakes and putting on my tennis shoes! I’m not running those bases in my slip-ons again!

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