11 Years After My Daughter’s Diagnosis, This Is What I’ve Learned

Dear Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy,

When we first met, you were bold and scary — an ominous force. We knew nothing about you. All we could see was the beautiful baby girl you were stealing from us. All our dreams and joy seemed to disappear in an instant, and all we could envision was fear, pain and sadness.

But she would not let you steal her. She was stronger than you both. She fought and she lived when medical predictions indicated the opposite.

Eleven years later, here we are. She is a beautiful, healthy, happy yet profoundly disabled little girl. You haven’t left, but we’ve learned to live with you. She wakes up every morning with the biggest, sweetest, most beautiful smile — a smile that says, “Hello, world! Here I am!” She cannot walk, talk, sit or feed herself, but she is the joy in every breath I take. She has an infectious smile, a laugh that is contagious and a magnetism that is undeniable.

Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy, you have not stolen anything. You have granted us the opportunity to live in the presence of an angel. She has had to face obstacles from surgery, pain and discomfort, but her strength shines through every day. She may be visually impaired, but she sees in her own world. She may not understand our world, but she understands hers. She is locked into a peace we can only imagine. She has helped us learn so much and experience things we may never have without you, Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy. We have swam with dolphins in dolphin therapy, we have walked with elephants and we have met the most majestic horses in hippotherapy. We have explored the world through her, and we are better, stronger people because of her.

Because of you, Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy we know absolute, unconditional love.

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