The Rough Road: Stepping Stones for Character & Celebration
I can still remember the day vividly.
It was my last day working for someone else, and the next day I would join Scott at our bookstore, Solomon’s Porch, and start working together to build our first business.
I was super excited and totally freaked out all at the same time! It was a giant leap of faith, but we knew it was the right decision.
THAT was the day I found out I was pregnant with Benjamin.
I’m sure I don’t have to spell out to you the additional pressure I felt and the questions that swirled in my mind around baby number four!
How would we manage it with no other income?
We’d just have to make it work!
Benjamin was born on December 2. His easy-going brother Addison had been such a great baby, and I was sure that Benjamin would follow the same pattern. I can almost hear the chuckles of the moms reading this right now!
You guessed it, babyhood with Ben was challenging.
Benjamin literally wouldn’t let me put him down. If I wasn’t holding him, he simply wouldn’t stop crying. Even Scott couldn’t hold him for the first two weeks of his life. It was crazy!
How was I supposed to work with this???! So as any other mom would do out there, I made it work!
I did everything I needed to do while wearing him in what was, by then, a very well-used baby Bjorn.
How well worn, you ask?
Let’s just say that things didn’t change quickly. I was still carrying Benjamin around on my nine-month swollen belly 2 ½ years later when I was expecting Hannah!
Maybe you can relate?
It was a tough few years, but we made it through. Not surprisingly, I have always felt very close to Benjamin. He has a sweet, quiet, affectionate nature that is so special. God only knows how He used those challenging days to shape our hearts.
When Benjamin was ten, we discovered that he had scoliosis. At first, doctors told us that it was minor and shouldn’t be a concern. However, by the time he was twelve, the curvature in his spine had doubled, and then it doubled again by the time he was fifteen!
The thoughts that race through your heart and mind when your child faces a lifelong condition like this! Would he need back surgery? Would Benjamin be deformed? Why are there no answers or no one to help?
For years, Benjamin lived in a body brace for twenty to thirty hours a day to minimize the curvature’s severity and changes to his spine.
It was devastating.
But even more, devastating to me was Benjamin’s anger towards God and the questions he would ask that I just couldn’t answer for him. I wished I could just make it all better, pray that he’d be healed and wouldn’t have to be angry.
Then, as miracles often do, one showed up in disguise.
When Benjamin was thirteen, we heard about Block Therapy. It was entirely new for us, and in all my research over Benjamin’s condition, I had never heard of it before!
Benjamin has been 100% committed to his physical health for the last 2 ½ years, and block therapy has dramatically transformed his body and life.
His commitment, dedication, and the endurance and perseverance he’s developed by working through the pain have truly made Benjamin diligent, disciplined, and more mature than his age would imply.
Here is a photo of Benjamin’s spine when we started, one year later, and then two years after his diligence with a block therapy regime.
We are all so proud of Benjamin!
Last month we saw the specialist again, and knowing Ben had grown so much, I knew we’d have to face Ben being fitted for another brace (his third!) and spend an entire day at the hospital. Just the thought of another three or more years of Benjamin having to live like this was overwhelming to me, never-mind trying to comprehend how he felt.
But when the X-rays came back, they indicated the growth curve of his spine was complete! He could wean himself off wearing the brace, and any risk of significant spinal change was now in the rearview mirror!
Wow, did we celebrate Benjamin!
I learned through this ordeal that when we can’t fight a battle for our kids, what we can do is stand with them and fight WITH them as they journey through the hard time themselves.
Benjamin recently wrote me a birthday card. In it, he thanked me for always being there for him and facing things together.
As parents, we often want to fix everything for our kids. But when we can’t, we can encourage, support, and love them through it!
Life is never without its challenges and heartaches, but as families pull together for each other, those rough patches will eventually give way to hope, love and celebration!