I´ve been meaning to write about this for sometime now, whenever my mind went into looking for the right words to try to explain something as crucial as this, the politically correct Misha in me whispered in the back of my mind ¨You can't tell a parent how to raise their children!!!¨ and, yes, she is right I can't, but what I can do is tell you what worked for me, so here I go...
I wouldn´t be the person I am if it wasn't for how my mom raised me.
You see, when I was born my mom was only 21 years old, it would have been really easy for her to listen to the medical and family opinions on how to raise me, but she knew better, she heard and paid lots of attention to her intuition, and she did well.
She knew that all my tears, pain, and uncomfortableness at the end were going to pay off, but she also knew that what I needed was much more than the Physio, the surgeries and the many posture correcting devices, my character was the one thing she had to work on the most.
So she started, I have no memory of this but, people tell me that when I was a baby, the kids will surround me in the park and just stared at me, a young mom might have covered their baby just in order to avoid all the fuss of having to explain a 3 year old boy why did her daughter looked the way she did but, she didn't. This was very clever on her part, from the beginning I was getting used to the ¨awkward¨ stares, now I just call it attention and I still get lots of it, but because my mom put me through those moments from an early age, they are just part of life, no hard feelings here.
She continued, this wonderful journey by allowing me to take myself to the limit, if by age 8 I was ready to hang out with my older brother and his friends well, she wouldn´t say no, maybe a traditional parent wouldn't have allowed it as they were all boys going into their teenage years and they did some crazy stuff, but in my mom´s head, this was going build my character up and I was going to put my body to the limit in order to keep up with them. So most of all, I learned how to fall down, imagine me jumping from a bunk bed pretending I was super man, yup! it didn't end up well but, it makes one hell of a story and I proved everyone that my body was stronger than they thought (no broken bones, luckily).
By age 11 I was a professional faller but, I needed so much more that knowing how to fall down, deal with the stares and all the physio, surgeries, and posture correcting devices. So my mom, whenever one of my friends invited me to a pyjama party she didn't think twice and on my way I went. Those moments when I had to figure out to do things on my own or to learn how to ask for help were crucial for my adult life, she wanted me to become as independent as I could be, and best way for me to learn my ways were those where I was out of my comfort zone.
Then my teenage years came, by then I already knew how to deal with the stares and all sort of ways to do things by myself, but her very successful intuition told her that I was in need of was to be told that I was more than fine being different, that what made me different made me Me and beautiful. So she did it all day every day.
All of this made my very confident, and I knew at age 18 that I could move to a strange city by myself, the stares would be familiar, the falls wouldn´t break my adventurous spirit, I would be able to do my day to day things and if I couldn't I wouldn't have a problem asking for help from someone was around me, nobody would be able to make me feel less, I knew my worth and that was all that matter. I was ready to start my adult life, make my own successes and my own mistakes like any other person.
So if you ask me how important parents are in the life of a kid with any disability, my answer will be: They are the most important piece in their lives, because is up to them if their kid's life is lived to the fullest in their early years and in their adult lives.