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How My Husband's Cerebral Palsy Is Like the Sprinkles on My Favorite Cake

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Dear cerebral palsy,

If my marriage was a cake, you would be the brightly colored, impossible to miss sprinkles covering the outer edge. You’re there, boldly covering the surface area of what me and my husband and family are.

At first, I didn’t think much of you. You were part of my childhood, there adorning the cakes of two of my closest friends. You weren’t this strange, foreign thing like blowfish or something that I had no experience with. Besides, this is a cake metaphor, and blowfish on a cake would be weird.  I knew you.  You were there, but you weren’t on my cake.

As I saw the impact you had on my husband, I started resenting you.  Seriously, sometimes sprinkles are just too much on a cake anyway. There were surgeries, physical therapy, more surgeries, wheelchairs, and… wait… more surgeries. And with every little thing, every sleepless night my husband endured, there you were. And believe me, you’re the first thing anybody sees when they look at us. People don’t see our love, our humor, or even his ability. They see his wheels. They see you.

Now, nearly seven years later, I have come to love you. Not just the “I guess I’ll deal with you” love, but a love filled with gratitude. As I grew, and saw my husband and now son grow, I see you for what you are.

Christine's son pushes his father's wheelchair.

Christine’s son pushes his father’s wheelchair.

You see, without you, cerebral palsy, my family wouldn’t be what it is today. We wouldn’t be the same people. Through the struggles, discrimination, pain, and frustration, my husband is more resilient and determined than anyone I’ve ever met. His faith is unbreakable and unwavering. He is getting his master’s degree, chasing his dreams. He is such a patient father, always encouraging but never forceful.  He understands himself, and his limitations, which gives him a much better understanding of those around him. He shows our son what perseverance and true strength are every day. He is the most loving, gentle, supportive husband.

Because of you.

Because of you, cerebral palsy, my son has grown tremendously in his faith, and has a true servant’s heart. He learned to walk pushing his daddy’s wheelchair. He holds doors, he waits patiently, he helps at every opportunity. He has no concept of disability. At 5 years old, he understands that all people do things differently, in their own way, and everyone does better working together. He believes from firsthand experience that God works all things for good.

Because of you, cerebral palsy, we believe without a doubt that God holds us all. We know that tomorrow isn’t promised, but to cherish each day as it comes. Every single moment is precious. Love is hard, and everything that’s worth having is worth the work it takes to keep.

Because of you.

Every single moment, eyes are on us. He can’t go to a job interview without you. You are a hidden blessing, cerebral palsy, because you help us see who is interested in the whole cake, not just making a judgement based on the decorating job. Anyone can make a cake look good, but it’s got nothing to do with how good the cake is. You force people to look beyond the exterior.

So thank you. Thank you for being part of our life. I know that we will always have the strength to fight and love more than we ever could without you. You’ve given us dreams, passion, drive, and with that, we can stand firm and show the world ability, and help them to ignore that silly little prefix that so many can’t look past.

You’re the sprinkles on my favorite cake.

Originally published: July 30, 2016
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