As The 2012 Paralympic Games wrap up tomorrow in London, I am reminded of a notion I had a lifetime ago when the boys were small babies.
As I thought of the intense regimen of physical therapy that Malachi, as a special needs child, would endure throughout his young childhood, I searched for a comparison in the typical world and it occurred to me that the only typical children in a similar situation were those in China who train incredibly young for the Olympics. Even those children — enrolled in brutal, elite camps such as these — are given five or six years of semi-normal childhood before starting. Malachi — and so many special needs children like him — would begin even younger, as a baby. What sort of life would that be?
And what of us — his parents? We had never imagined ourselves as those demanding, sideline-waving parents à la Blades of Glory who endlessly push their child to unattainable heights; those parents who pour all their resources into their child's relentless pursuit of a place on the podium.
And if we were? Even if we became that? What of it? Malachi would have to endure all of that — thousands of hours of physical training, a stolen childhood, an ingrained inability to see any of his physical pursuits as just a game. For what? The slim, glimmer of a chance that he might simply walk? Nothing epic or record-breaking or glorious, at least not on society's terms. Just walk.
It certainly begs the question: What is the price of gold? And why should I pay it — why should he pay it — in exchange for lead?