Acceptance and Hope

I never thought that acceptance and hope could coexist. I certainly felt the same way about acceptance and peace. How could I accept that my son might never learn to walk or talk, and be happy?

A couple of days into our trip, I finally felt a deep deep level of acceptance. For the very first time since I heard Nathan’s diagnosis, I allowed myself to imagine and accept Nathan completely. I imagined him in a wheelchair, unable to move or speak. In the past, I’d only felt horror at this thought. And for the first time I didn’t freak out. Instead, I allowed my mind to stay there, to imagine what life would be like. And I found that life would still be wonderful and joyful. That Nathan would not change, that Nathan would be Nathan, and that we would enjoy every minute of his existence. And instead of wanting to lunge head forward into the sand, I found peace. I finally felt that, no matter what, we would all be okay. It felt like jumping into a nice hot spring in the middle of a cold winter day.

I found that acceptance didn’t mean passivity. After experiencing this feeling of acceptance and peace, we went for our consultation with the REACH program and were encouraged not to give up our hopes and expectations for Nathan. We were given a specific program that has the potential of benefitting Nathan. And for the first time, Owen and I felt secure in the knowledge that we were on the right path. We felt that we could accept Nathan, while giving him as many opportunities as possible. For the first time, this didn’t feel paradoxical. We can accept and maximize at the same time.

We feel hope. We feel that the harder we work with and for Nathan, the more he will learn, the more he will progress. Especially in these first critical years, we feel that we have a good chance of helping him develop functional skills. Maybe he will learn to move, maybe he won’t. Whatever happens, I now know I can feel peace. Acceptance and Hope can coexist.

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