It is Hard to Believe Savannah is Fifteen Today

It is hard to believe that Savannah is fifteen years old today... I don't mean "hard to believe" in the way people say, "Gosh, they grow up so fast" because Savannah hasn't grown up fast. Her life clambers along like a glacier in almost imperceptible increments, forward and backward, expanding and contracting, churning up the land before it, assimilating all. She rolled me up in her creeping avalanche, which, at times, threatened to smother me under an ice-pack of anger and sorrow.

Happy 15
It is hard to believe that we're both still here, alive, persisting. Amazingly, she's not only alive, but thriving. She's happy and loving. For a blind, non-verbal, quadriplegic child who could have easily lived her short life parked in a corner with only the walls for companions, she has drawn an incredible array of people into her orbit. So many that I call her the Mayor of Rosedale School. She radiates an inner strength and humor that warms people down to their souls, charms them, renews them, and sends them forth to spread joy.

It is hard to believe that I led a very different life before Savannah arrived on April Fool's Day, 1999. I sometimes miss that life: living abroad, travelling the world, having unbelievable adventures as a matter of course. I miss the physical freedom I had before I became a caretaker, a nurse, and an administrative assistant to this child.

But...

It is hard to express in words, but Savannah has given me an extraordinary gift. She has given me a different kind of freedom... the freedom from fear. She bent me to the point at which I knew I would break.  But I didn't. I simply bent a little farther... and I have learned that I will bend again with each blow, each ice-age. She has taught me that life comes in strange manifestations, and to fear its ambiguity is to shrink from it and miss its most vital parts. I don't want to miss a thing. Now, I can stand before the oncoming storm and enjoy its beauty. I can run up to the glacier and tap its side and yell, "Nanny, nanny boo-boo!  You don't scare me!"  There is nothing anyone can do to hurt me. I am free in the most pure sense of the word... free from pretension, false expectations, and the judgement of others... free to cut my own path through the world, like a glacier. You can see me coming, but you are powerless to stop me.

I am indomitable.

To the bravest person I know, the greatest teacher:  Savannah the Indomitable, Mayor of Rosedale.  Happy Fifteen.


#birthday #specialneeds #parenting #love #joy #bravery #life #disability #pain #resilience #fear

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