Why I Cried With Joy When My Daughter With Cerebral Palsy Wore Flip-Flops

During the hot, sun-filled summer, I’m so grateful for flip-flops. Yes, flip-flops. I’m grateful for the skill it takes to keep them on your feet, and the sound they make as you walk. I never used to be so fond of them — until two summers ago.

I’m sure many of you reading this have had the experience of wearing a pair of flip-flops. And I’m also sure it’s likely an uneventful, subconscious experience for you.

Well, for my daughter, who’s a person with hemiplegic cerebral palsy, it was a learned skill that took a few weeks. It was a huge accomplishment for her since she’s used to wearing tennis shoes with a brace on her left leg.

So, for weeks that summer, I allowed her to wear them in the house only, just so she would take her time and not fall. Even though she was insistent on trying them, I was hesitant because her therapist voiced how awful they are for her feet and suggested it was not a good idea. But because she wants to be just like her friends, she wanted to learn. So how could I deny her the right to be like everyone else?

Recently we had to run to the grocery store for just a couple of items, and she proceeded to the door in her flip flops — for once, I did not object. When she realized I was going to allow her to wear them out of the house, she was elated and thanked me the entire way to the store.

The simplest thing we take for granted all summer long brought her such joy.

We went to the store and she took her time, proudly looking down at her feet often. And, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the people in the store, a quiet miracle of our own was occurring. I started to cry a soft, grateful, joy-filled cry, right there in the middle of the store. My heart was full as I watched her accomplish this big task.

What are your flip-flops?

What are the things that have happened in your son or daughter’s world that would definitely be a miracle to you and your family?

If you’re unsure, I hope you will be able to recognize when something remarkable has happened, no matter how insignificant it may look to the world — and want to celebrate and share it with others. Our kids’ successes will motivate other special parents to keep hoping and look toward their next “flip-flop” moment.

I know some special moms are patiently waiting for their child to put a simple sentence together, while some are praying for their child to sit up or walk. For them, a new word or a strengthened muscle can turn into a day full of celebration and hope.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one unexpected source of comfort when it comes to your (or a loved one’s) disability and/or disease? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our “Share Your Story” page for more about our submission guidelines.

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