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  • Writer's pictureStephanie

Thankful November. For Movement.

My quadriplegic friend from college died last year. And ten years ago we found out we were having a paraplegic son.

Up until meeting those two strong, smart individuals, I took my legs for granted. Other than a brief stint with crutches when I tore a ligament in my gymnastics days, and another with an infection in my knee several years ago, working legs have been a given. They’ve supported me through the gain and loss of nearly 250 pounds across pregnancies. They’ve climbed mountains. Swum across lakes. Ice skated. Biked. Skied. Danced. Run. Trudged. Skipped. Stood. They work great and I love them.

But I would trade in a heartbeat if I could give my legs to my son. (Granted, they would only make him five feet tall. But he’d be vertical). My husband and I were discussing the amount of medical intervention he has endured over the last decade. It accumulates into tens of thousands of insurance dollars.

And largely, it hasn’t done much. He still crawls as fast as his brothers can walk, so laboriously maneuvering a bulky walker around the house has never been an attractive option to him. Wheelchairs and walkers don’t do well on lawns, snow and ice, or stairs.

Interestingly, technology has advanced significantly in the realm of prosthetics. There are amputees with carbon fiber appendages who can run faster than many professional runners. We’re still waiting for less titillating bracing technology to catch up. Money and research just aren’t directed there. Propping up existing limbs hasn’t changed much since Forrest Gump and Franklin Roosevelt. It’s disheartening to have been sitting as a first row spectator for a decade, waiting for advances to appear on the horizon.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Ben says he’s going to invent hoverboard tech that will allow him to float around the house at whatever level he chooses. I hope he does. Then he wouldn’t have to sit on the porch watching his brothers race across the backyard in a whirlwind game of tag. Then he wouldn’t have to wait for heaven, where he will doubtless run faster than any Olympic medalist.

Or perhaps he will have to wait. There’s steel in his will, even if - or maybe because - there isn’t in his ankles.

When God makes men, He does so thoroughly.

Sometimes it costs more than movement.

Today, as I carried him to the car, his feet dangling to my shins, I grunted to him that he was getting so big he’d have to carry me someday. “I will,” he responded quietly.

I have no doubt he means it.

Oh my heart.

God has bigger plans than I ever could, I thought as I climbed the steps to the house with him later. I am so blessed walk with him on this journey.

Today, I am so thankful for the ability to move.

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