Last night when I dropped Emily off at the church nursery a little girl asked me: "why can't she walk?". The question caught me off guard and I really didn't know how to answer. One, I would answer a child much differently than I would answer an adult. Two, there wasn't a lot of time for a lengthy answer. She was genuinely curious and I wanted to answer her question. I eventually said something like "her muscles don't work the same as yours so she has to work a LOT harder to do things". She seemed satisfied with the response, but I wasn't.
Today I had a doctor's appointment - just a checkup, no big deal. I showed her pictures of Emily and she asked how she was doing. She asked if she was crawling, if she was communicating and a bunch of other questions about her development. When asked questions like this, I feel like I have no choice but to list all the things that Emily is not doing. All the while, the doctor had this look of pity on her face and I just felt awful.
This afternoon, I was talking to a coworker over the phone. She asked how Emily was doing. She asked if she was walking and talking and doing all kinds of other things. Again, I listed the things that Emily is not doing. She also asked if anyone tells me if she will ever be able to do those things. Thankfully, no. No doctors or therapists have tried to paint a picture of Emily's future and I am glad. They cannot see into the future so I really don't want to hear what they think will be. I am content to let the future remain unknown. I am content to let Emily show us what she is capable of in her own time and in her own way.
These encounters really got me thinking. How am I supposed to respond when people ask questions about Emily and what she can and cannot do? I don't want to paint a grim picture, but I don't want to lie about Emily's abilities. I also don't want pity or sympathy from people. I don't feel bad about Emily's condition and neither does she. This is our life and we are OK with that because we don't know any different. I know deep in my heart that Emily doesn't have CP because of human error. I didn't do something during my pregnancy that caused it. A doctor didn't make a mistake somewhere along the way. CP was part of God's plan for her (and for us). Emily is exactly the way that God intended her to be.
I need to be better prepared for the questions that people have. Emily will be getting a wheelchair at some point (hopefully soon) and I know the questions will only increase. I realize that I do not have to offer a detailed explanation to everyone I meet, but I also don't want to elicit pity.