Zack has a couple of ladies that visit him every week or two. As his mom, I’m not too concerned about my Ladies’ Man. You see, his female visitors are therapists from our local Early Intervention program.
Our physical therapist Kathleen comes every week. Our special instructor Sheri visits every other week.
I was so nervous about Early Intervention, which, by the way, I knew nothing about prior to August. EI is a free public program sponsored by our local MH/MR office. It started with a consultation meeting in which officials from EI determined our eligibility and gave us paperwork to fill out. Then there was a meeting to see in what what areas Zack may need extra assistance. At two months old, Zack was measuring about on par for his age, with the exception of a slight possible delay in gross motor skills.
His Down Syndrome diagnosis however makes for an extra need for a bit of extra help, if you will. It can’t hurt, right.
It was hard for me to watch the EI officials studying Zack that first time. I knew they were looking for delays, for trouble. I knew it was just them doing their job and helping Zack out in the long run, but that was my baby boy’s actions they were scrutinizing.
Moreover, that was his future they were debating. They were seeing the signs of a syndrome I was still frightened to accept at that point. They were holding him and staring at him like he was a science experiment and it hurt my New Mommy Soul.
As we started visits from Kathleen and Sheri, however, I soon changed my mind. These ladies are helping him. Every exercise Zack’s support group — me, Scott, Grandma, friends, therapists… — do with the dude is a step closer to “normalcy,” a smidge easier his life will be as he gets older. It’s a hard, cold truth that stares me in the face every Thursday.
But, I love these ladies.
They come in, the second or third or fourth stop on their day of traveling a long coverage area and dealing with traffic, pets, annoying parents and upset babies. You would think it was their only stop for a month, though, or that Zack was their own child.
They get the work done, but in a way that makes it so enjoyable and fun for Zack. The smiles while he lifts his head or spends time on his stomach or grasps a toy doesn’t make all the muscle-hurting stretching so seemingly cruel anymore.
They cheer his accomplishments and sometimes surprising achievements and make our entire family feel like a million bucks.
And even our homework comes out like a fun challenge. (We have weekly assignments of what to work on and how our progress on certain goals is going)
Our hour visits from them fly by and a part of me is sad when they leave.
Will I be able to make as much of a difference? I ask myself as they march down our front steps, ready to make another family feel special.
Are we doing enough? I always ponder that one. And sometimes, Do I worry about it all too much? Is that even possible?
I’ve realized that all I can do is my best. My best for Zack, my best for myself, my best for my family.
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to worry about leg stretches or Zack’s ability to follow objects and noises with his eyes. We’d play or we’d be lazy and that’d be the end of it all. It wouldn’t matter.Maybe I could snuggle with him more and stretch his limbs less. Maybe I wouldn’t even have to think about any of it.
But as long as I live, I have to know that every day I did what was the absolute best for my son.
I don’t ever want to ask