Celebrate the Victories – All of Them.

Perhaps to most parents, a four-year-old liking the icing off a cupcake is old hat, nothing to get excited about. Not for me and my husband. For us, it is a huge victory. Our youngest son, Logan, he’s what you might call a reluctant eater. There are only a handful of things he’ll eat and most of the time, getting him to try something requires a bribe. The other day, I had a little cupcake and he came over to me, looking at it with interest. I offered it to him and he took a tiny bite of the icing, ran over to look at himself in the mirrored back of my curio cabinet and did a little dance. It was a taste that had not required a bribe or prodding at all. For us, it was a victory. And the fact that he kept coming back until the icing was almost gone was a great bonus.

It can be easy to forget that each step, no matter how small it might seem to the rest of the world, is important and should be celebrated, rewarded, cherished. These moments make the therapies, the work, the meltdowns, the bribes all worth it. These moments provide the foundation for the bigger steps.

Six months ago, Logan didn’t say much that wasn’t scripted from one of the shows he likes or commercials. Today, after a lot of work, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and practicing at home, he’ll tell you how he feels, how old he is, and that soon, he’s going to be riding a bus to school.

I admit there are times when I look at his victories and think, how ridiculous this must seem to families of typical kids. Then I reprimand myself. You see, each of his little victories add up, build up, reinforce everything we work so hard to instill in him. That sense of pride when he reaches just a little further than he has before – it keeps him reaching for the next level.

When my family first began to understand this journey, a very good friend of mine who’s being travelling this road for almost fifteen years said something to me that I’ve taken to heart. Basically, she told me to claim all his little victories, to celebrate each and every one of them with him because there are times when it doesn’t feel like you are making progress, sometimes it even seems you are sliding backward, and those victories make it easier to press forward against the meltdowns, the stares from people who don’t understand, and all the little difficulties that exist for my child. My friend is a very wise woman and I would have been lost in this journey without her.

Don’t forget to do a happy dance with your child the next time they do something they’ve never done before. Cheer at every new word, every right answer, every amazing moment. And when the road gets frustrating and difficult to traverse, remember it is only a matter of time before this stumble will turn into a dance.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jaime Samms
    Aug 24, 2010 @ 10:52:50

    Congrats, Sarah! That’s a fantastic stride for Logan. He’s so lucky to have amom who sees all his little vicories and marks them. Every kids needs that, no matter what their challenges. *hugs*

    Reply

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