Unexpected Expertise

Unexpected Expertise

Riding home yesterday from Claire’s check-up with her surgeon, I realized I’m becoming something of an expert at living with a child with mild cerebral palsy. For eight years now I have sat in small exam rooms while an information laden physician sits across from me on a short padded stool reviewing the most recent research on spasticity, high tone, dystonia, contracture, and other vocabulary words specific to Claire’s condition.

When I was dreaming of careers or areas of life I’d like to know more about as a young person, I don’t remember having cerebral palsy on that list. But eight years ago it took a place at the top when Claire was born prematurely and we were almost guaranteed at least some form of CP in our future.

Now here I am. It is so common to me, I often forget about her special needs until I see a struggle in her that the other girls don’t face or someone asks a question about why she walks the way she walks.

Last night at her tee-ball game, which we had rushed home (St. Louis is a three hour drive) to make, she was stopping grounders better than ever before. In the doctor’s office that day I had just mentioned her perseverance and love for the sport despite the fact that it was difficult for her to catch  with the mitt on her sluggish left hand. She has a way of defying me. As I inspected further, I realized she was using her strong right hand to literally pull down on her mitted left hand, forcing it to the ground in front of the softball rolling her way. She thought of that herself. I had decided she was just going to have to get used the ball rolling through her legs. She wasn’t ready to accept that.

Welcome to my world with Claire. Every time I think we’ve finally reached something she will have to give up, she proves me wrong. I thought Claire gave up dancing here – three years ago – and now we’re here – still at it!

So this is just one of the areas that I’ve become an unplanned expert. Others include leading kids in worship (from volunteering to lead songs when my son was a preschooler), spiritual disciplines (from taking over an orphaned course from a departing instructor), and hobby flower gardening (I don’t know where that one came from!).

How about you? Are you an unexpected expert in something? Do you think we have the responsibility to share our wealth of knowledge now or is this just the way life goes?

*Photo note: This is from last year’s season. This year I worked as an assistant coach (I’m good at bossing little girls around and bribing them to stay out of the dirt!) and there was NO TIME to get out the camera. Notice Claire is running right out of her shoe . . . that about sums up life with that girl! : )

16 Replies to “Unexpected Expertise”

    1. Thanks, Aimee. You did such a good job with her – always encouraging and positive. Coach of the Year award to you! πŸ™‚

  1. I think I’ve once again found a quote:

    ‘To live life to the fullest, you gotta run right out of your shoes!’

    Claire could teach all of us a thing or three I say.

  2. Go Claire! And you too Felic, for recognizing that Claire is going to figure her own way through things. If she wants to do it, she will figure it out. Only adults are dumb enough to give up too soon. πŸ™‚

  3. Im taking a different angle on your blog. I was thinking while reading it that we shouldnt be suprised that Claire doesnt give up on things because its not in her nature. She wanted to live and fought with everything she had to live. She could of given up, but its not in her nature. She could of given up on dance, but its not in her nature, she could of given up and accepted that ground balls will always go between her legs, but its not in her nature. I think we over look that part of her wonderful life. She has a fight and a tenacity in her that is uncommon in most people. Think about her odds of living?(With God’s help)she overcame death, if that cant keep her down, nothing else will.

    1. Too true. And of course you would notice this trait, Paul, because you are made of the same kind of tough stuff! Preemie Time! πŸ™‚

  4. I’ve definitely learned more about, low cholesterol, low fat, low sodium cooking than I ever thought was possible….and I’ve only scratched the surface. Hopefully, the things I’m learning will be a big benefit to the people I love the most, even if they don’t want to hear about it. πŸ™‚

    1. I bet you have learned a lot about that quickly! I like the Taste of Home magazine called Healthy Cooking – you might want to pick up a few copies for ideas! : )

  5. I remember at Charity’s wedding when we first saw Claire and she was blitzing around playing with all the cousins you grinned at me and said, “well, we prayed for her to be a fighter when she was born…..be careful what you pray for.”
    I remember that comment mama everytime I read something you write about your little “fighter”.

  6. A summer job I never wanted at a restaurant led me to discover that I love making food that makes people smile and hostessing in such a way that makes fast friends out of strangers.

    What’s funny is that I clearly inherited this from my Mama but had to leave the nest to find out I’m a Robyn. πŸ™‚

    1. I inherited this love for cooking, service and hostessing from my mother, your grandmother Hazel. She was a home cook, profession cook on the Mississippi river boats and a caterer. So glad for what she taught me, and glad that you wanted to learn too. : )

  7. I love these stories of Claire’s tenacity – and the gift of unplanned expertise. So fun and so inspiring.

    I don’t drink coffee, but because I worked as a barista, I’m really good at making it. πŸ™‚ And I didn’t really plan to take up knitting – it just kind of happened – but it’s definitely a skill I’m glad to have.

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