My son, the Olympian

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?


  1. Love this post Shasta. I so agree...and that's why we haven't gone overboard on the therapy thing...and why we are also all about making therapy fun and moving beyond therapy towards physical activity (like biking and swimming) that he enjoys.

    1. That's awesome, Cary! You are doing such a great job with both of your boys. You've got a great post on making therapy fun today, folks should check it out here:


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