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Why My Daughter’s Disability Reminds Me Of My Childhood Bike Rides

When I was 10, I spent my summers days on my bike exploring and enjoying my newfound freedom. I loved the hill down the road from my house. To my tiny 10-year-old frame, that hill looked massive. It intrigued me.

I still remember my daily treks up, the sun beating down on me, my cheeks rosy red as sweat dripped down my furrowed brow. I would pedal with all my might.

About half way up, my legs would start to burn, and I would get short of breath. But still, I would pedal because I was fully aware of the thrill that waited for me at the top. By the time I reached the peak, my legs would tingle and my back would ache.

Using what little strength I had left, I’d proceed effortlessly down the slope, my heart racing and the cool breeze dancing across my face. I felt as if I were flying. When I made it to the bottom, I was always so overcome with joy, that I would completely forget how daunting and exhausting the ride up was.

As I grew older, my rides on that hill decreased in frequency. And no matter what I attempted, where I traveled or what I accomplished, nothing in life caused me as much struggle and consequently, as much joy as the ride up and down that hill.

My daughter’s disability has gifted me with many things: strength, perseverance, determination and a fresh perspective. And in a sense, I’ve been given a second chance to re-experience my childhood bike rides once more: 

The ultrasounds, the testing and the sleepless nights were all a part of my uphill ride.

The doctors, the disappointments and the worries were all a part of my uphill ride.

The missed milestones, the testing results and the grief were all a part of my uphill ride.

The moment I saw her smile at me — her precious face, her head full of fuzzy red hair, her big blue eyes — I was on my way down that massive hill.

And when she crawled to me for the first time, I could feel that cool breeze dancing across my face.

And when she took her first step — something I was unsure would ever happen — I was so overcome with joy, I completely forgot how daunting and exhausting the ride up really was.

Yes, the best gift I ever received was being blessed with the privilege of raising my daughter and in doing so, experiencing the glory of the ride up and down the hill once more.

My daughter reminds me daily that although the hill may be steep and the exhaustion real, the beauty of the ride down is worth it all.

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