Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Transatlantic Tuesdays: Achieving the Impossible

#TransatlanticTuesdays is a collaboration between Maxine (in the UK) who blogs at Down in front, please, and me (in the US) - sharing our journeys in the form of letters to one another.
Links to play catch up are at the end of this post.

Dear Maxine,
Well, life has been busy for me, and I thank you once again for being patient. Now that I've gotten through one of my bigger hurdles as a blogger/writer, I can go back to the norm.
Of course, I had to reread your letter, and of course each one you write brings both a smile to my face and a new perspective to my eyes. I just love your style, lady. Your writing style, that is.
I love that you never feel like you've hit a wall, but that you are running along it and enjoying the view. This means life hasn't smacked you in the face--you're careful and make sure to watch the signs and hazards. Similar to your recent sharing of the marathon you are training for--I wish you the best of luck!
Now, you asked me this question:
I'm curious to know what was the one success any of your kids has had which has surprised you the most? Is there anything you didn't expect from any of them and then they've gone and done it and you thought 'whoa, wasn't expecting that!'
So, I made sure to blow those egg shells out of my path before I set out to tell you the most amazing story ever, and keep in mind, I have three children. They have all accomplished great things in their short lifetimes, but what I always go back to, time and again, is when my daughter learned to ride a bike, back in December of 2012.
I had just given birth to my third baby, born with a cleft palate. I was adjusting to pumping for him, using a syringe to feed him while he sucked on a pacifier, and basically doing the things that moms of newborns do--up at all hours of the night, feeling pretty frumpy, and living in survival mode.
The winter break came, and since my husband is a teacher, he also gets the 3 weeks off. Julianna had just turned 9, Blake, our other son, 6. We knew he was ready to learn to ride a bike, and talked about doing it during the break since we'd have more time to help him. Well, in reality, it would be all on my husband, since I was very busy with a newborn. So we planned to do this right after visiting with family on Christmas day.
And then Joel, my husband, posed the question to me: "Do you think we should teach Julianna, too?"
I'm embarrassed to admit that I thought Julianna wouldn't be able to learn. I told him this, and said it would probably be too hard, and not even worth trying. She lacked the coordination, balance, and muscle tone/motor skills to ride a bike. Her sensory issues, to me, would not even make it possible, and I even started looking into other options for her, like some type of tandem bike for older children. When you think about it, there are many steps to riding a bike--knowing how to push off to start riding the bike, keeping your balance on two wheels, pedaling to keep the bike going, using the handlebars to turn when needed, and stopping when needed. Too many steps usually meant too hard to learn for someone like her.
But my husband wouldn't accept that answer. "We have to try, at least!" he said.
So we removed the kids' training wheels, packed the bikes in our car, and headed to the church parking lot. I walked with my newborn in the stroller while Joel worked with the kids. By day 1, Blake had learned to ride. We expected this. He was loving his new freedom. But Julianna needed more time. Day 2, 3, 4 turned into a new week. She was making progress, but whenever she couldn't do it, and would fall down, she would get very upset, and want to give up.
Since Blake was riding independently now, Joel had Julianna all to herself. He had her go down little ramps to help her start to pedal. He held her seat. He ran with he as she rode. He did all the things a dad does when helping their child to learn. It wasn't until week 3, near the end of the winter break, that she did it. It all clicked! Her body was able to maneuver the bike and she was riding all on her own. I saw a change in her that was miraculous to me! She could do something for herself--something BIG. She felt accomplished. I'm sure I cried. To me, it was one of the best moments, and I owe it to my husband for not giving up.
Now one of our favorite things to do is go on bike rides with our family. It makes me feel like we are a normal, typical family (even though we are far from it). It gives Julianna a sense of independence that she can't have in other areas of her life (at least not yet.) And the whole experience has taught me that autism does not mean anything is off limits--EVERYTHING is worth trying! Potential is limitless, and if it doesn't work out, then that's okay, too! Trying is better than assuming something is impossible.
And so, Maxine, I turn it over to you now, and leave you with this question: 
Since you will be running a marathon this Saturday, how does this event compare to your experience as a mom?
Perhaps this will give you food for thought as you run 26.2 miles!


Transatlantic Tuesdays  |  Archive
02 Feb 2016  |  http://downinfrontplease.blogspot.co.uk/2016/02/transatlantic-tuesday-letters-from.html


  1. The idea presents Julianna an awareness involving self-sufficiency that will the girl are unable to get throughout other locations involving your ex lifestyle (at the least certainly not nevertheless. )#) Plus the total expertise features coached us that will autism won't necessarily mean everything can be off of limits--EVERYTHING may be valued at striving! Probable can be unrestricted, if this doesn't happen figure out, and then that is certainly fine, way too! Striving is superior to if a thing can be extremely hard.

  2. You both are so strong. It is really not easy to raise and handle such kids. but keep working hard and you will see how proud they will make you both