Ok, that’s a lie.
Nobody’s been fired, but after some very deep soul-searching and many conversations with her top cheerleaders, I decided to pull Lila out of therapy for the next 30 days. Yep, even her beloved horse therapy. She/we have had a busy summer and soon she will turn 3. The next round of constraint therapy begins Sept. 30. Then preschool starts. Wow, that’s a lot. So I made a very conscious decision to give Lila (and us) a much needed and deserved break. For the next 30 days, Lila will be trading therapy and clinic time for visits to the zoo, water park, Dairy Queen, museum … well, you get the picture. Somewhere during that time we’ll throw in a flamingo-themed birthday bash for good measure.
As much fun as all of that sounds, it wasn’t an easy decision to make. When you have a child with developmental delays, you feel like your best is never enough. “I should encourage her to use her right hand more.” “Lila should spend more time weight-bearing and less time in her chair.” “I should get up before Lila to clean the house so I don’t have to do it while she’s awake.” “I should explore more alternative therapies.” Those thoughts — and the guilt — fade away over time. But they never completely go away.
There came a time when I started to feel more “normal” in a clinic or hospital setting than I did out in the real world. No explaining to do. No telling Lila that she can’t jump in the bouncy house with the other kids, or leaving social functions early because my back can’t handle the constant “walking” Lila insists on doing to keep up with the other kids. (God, I love her for that, but ouch, my back.)
Therapists, as well-intended as they are (and we have some of the best), don’t always know what a day in the life of Lila is like. So when they suggest this therapy or that piece of equipment, my heart sinks and my mind races: “How can I juggle the schedule to fit in one more appointment? Where can I trim the family budget to allow for one more thing that our wonderful health insurance doesn’t pay for?” *bangs head on table * hugs my kid * guilt * repeat
I’m at peace with my decision after experiencing a therapy-free life the past week. Mornings are fun and fancy-free. There’s time to drink of cup of coffee while we make waffles (Lila stirs the batter and even uses her right hand). She says hi to everyone at the local waterpark with her Dad. She shocks everyone by getting the hang of this potty training thing. She meets her preschool teacher and checks out her locker … her very own locker! She stays up later because I can’t resist “Mommy, play with me?” coming from those sweet little lips and those big blue eyes. She samples new fare at Costco where we practice sitting in the cart while holding on with two hands.
You see, therapy is everywhere. Sometimes you just need a break to see it.