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What If...

As a parent of a disabled child, I constantly find myself asking “What If”. What if we had two healthy twins that could play and talk together? What if we didn’t have to live by the clock to administer medications? What if we could celebrate a holiday and not have to worry about seizures or ending up in the hospital? What if Olivia was able to tell us how she feels and where it hurts? What if I could wake up one day and Olivia could look into my eyes and say, “Daddy, I love you.”

What if. Those two little words that will forever keep me wondering. Every day is a struggle to let go of the dreams we had that will never quite turn out the way we thought they would. Most parents envision their kids going to school, then to college, then getting married, then grandchildren and a host of other things in between. I have now replaced those thoughts with hope. Hope that Olivia will be able to sit up by herself and watch her sister showing her a new Barbie. Hope that Olivia will one day be able to conjure up enough strength to take that first step by herself even if she is wearing leg and arm braces. Hope that one day Olivia will be able to raise her head and simply say hi. And hope that if nothing else, I can tickle her and she will know for an instant what it feels like to laugh.

The ironic thing about Olivia is that she is the strongest person I have ever known. She has fought more battles in six years than most of us will fight in a lifetime. She has beaten the odds and I know she will continue to do so.

So What If? What if Olivia had been perfectly healthy? What if she had not had to spend nearly two years of her young life in hospitals? What if she was able to walk and talk like any other child? The answer…our family would not be what it is today. Her sister Hailey would not be nearly the loving, compassionate and understanding little girl she has become. We would still be hiding behind society’s shroud of normalcy not comprehending for a moment the struggles parents with disabled children are faced with each and every day. Allison and I would not be half the team we are when fighting for our family. And we would not be able to look into Olivia’s eyes at true, innocent and unconditional love. Her gaze mesmerizes us with its fortitude; the kind that glances back with determination and compels us to never give up on her. The kind that says, “Just give me a chance.” The kind that says, “Daddy, never stop believing. Never give up hope and never stop asking…What If.”

Thanks for reading!

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Tuesday, 22 September 2020

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