As parents, we want the world at our children’s fingertips. We tell our bright-eyed daughter she can be the Prima Ballerina, and exuberant son he’s the next Jordan. Filled with imagination, gumption, and creativity, childhood is a time to dream big. A time when we want to encourage our child in every aspect of their lives, and earnestly believe that with enough hard work, our kids can truly be “anything”.
Walter can’t be “anything he wants to be when he grows up”.
Not just because he has a CHD, but because he is human. And THAT is OK.
It came up in conversation with Walter’s cardiologist this month some of the limitations that will be placed on our sweet boy. Some may prove necessary, while others are placed by others out of misunderstood risks and liability fears. Most sleep away camps and certain Boy Scout activities (such as camping trips) may be closed to him. Many traditional schools would make him sit out at P.E. and even exclude him from their sports teams. We knew already that a career as a police officer, fireman, or Marine (like his daddy) would be out of the question due to stringent medical requirements.
When I look into those eager baby blues and crawl on the floor with this active and determined child of ours, it breaks my heart. A lot. As in I cried on my way home from the doctor’s office,” A LOT”. I don’t want to tell Walter “no” so soon. I want the world at HIS fingertips too. It took me a few days to embrace it, but as I thought and talked it out, I realized that Walter will simply face a reality of life much earlier than it took many of us to find ourselves. It remains a reality many of us choose to forget, or ignore, but reality none the less.
The world may not be Walter’s oyster. He, however, can sure be its diamond. Because for every “no”, “can’t”, and “shouldn’t” our Walt is told, we will teach him to find a “can”, “will”, and “way”. Like all of us, Walt has limitations – some of his are just more apparent than most, and less severe than some.
For us all, and for our children, where we may not be the “best”, we can always be better, and though we may not set a world record, we can set a personal one. So though I don’t look forward to the days when Walt will be told he “can’t”, I do look forward to the moments when he proves that those hurdles were just leading him to the finish line.
In other news:
Our Walt won’t be taking “no” for an answer anytime soon. This little Earth Angel of ours has bottled up such energy and joy, it seems to burst from his smile and out his toes each morning. He’s “low” crawling all 14 lbs of his little self anywhere he can reach, and constantly on the move. Health wise, he’s been doing great – good enough that we had his cardiologist’s blessing for a two and half week long trip to Michigan for a much needed family visit. Surgery #2 is still expected for September or October. Clearly we’re thrilled to have Dan home after three and a half months apart, and the Klimas family is enjoying some special moments together in the “Mitten”.
Today we enjoyed a wet, rainy day with Dan’s grandparents on their farm. Walt was amazed, and among the mud, tractors, and cattle, looked quite the “babe” in “boyland”.