by Katie Lindemann
When you come to the edge of all you know
You must believe in one of two things:
You will be given earth on which to stand
Or you will be given wings
When you are the mother of a child who is chronically ill, it is a natural reaction to hold your children a bit tighter, watch them a bit more, and always be there ready to help them or catch them. We have watched our children struggle in ways that we never imagined, and we have rejoiced in accomplishments that other parents take for granted. We spend all of our time searching for something that will help them, some way to make them feel better, something that will allow them to live long, happy and healthy lives. We are good at this. This becomes our normal….
It is so easy to get caught up in the watching, the helping and the fighting that we sometimes forget that our main job is to give them wings to fly. Wings that will someday take them places without us. Wings that will help them become individuals, and wings that will take them on some excellent, sometimes scary, adventures.
I feel like a mother bird sometimes with my own wings tightly wrapped around my kids, holding them in the nest, protecting them. I prefer to be in full control of every aspect of their daily lives. Ask me anything and I can rattle it off. I know their every move before they even make it. I am there holding them tight.
I like this. I mean I really like this part. But slowly they begin to grow. They start wiggling every so slightly away. My wings become a little looser around them, and one day I find them teetering on the edge of the nest ready to take a step. Ready to learn how to fly. I looked up the other day and there was my son Alex, teetering on the edge of the nest. I took a deep breath. In and then out. It was time to give him wings….
And wings he got. Those wings came in the form of a green power wheel chair, and boy has he flown. I will never forget the smile on his face, or the happiness in his voice the first time he sat in that chair and took off down the hall. It was one of those, “wishing I had this on video,” moments, but one that I will never forget no matter how many years shall pass. He simply flew, did not fall, did not quiver at all, and surely only looked back at me, not for reassurance, but as to say, “now this is freedom and it sure is awesome.”
And just when I thought I couldn’t love him any more, he swung past me and said, “Thank you, this is just what I needed.” Next thing I knew, his sister Lauren was seated on his lap and the two of them were off on a new adventure. Laughing, giggling and just loving life. He was so proud and so ready for this next adventure in life.
As I type now, the kids are out back “off-roading.” I see them back and forth across the yard, with smiles plastered on their faces. Just the two of them. Alex is teaching Lauren how to drive and he’s zooming in and out of cones he has set up to practice his “maneuverability.” Simply amazing.
This entire electric wheelchair thing was definitely not something in my “when I have a child someday” dreams. Yes, there is a part of my heart that breaks that we are even in a place where we need an electric wheelchair, but more of my heart is rejoicing that I was able to step back, release a little of my control and give him wings to fly….
I can only imagine what God has in store now for my little bird.