The news and video of Roman's debut as a big kid walker is mostly out by now. Most of you have seen it and most of you have given us an actual or "cyber" high-five by now. We appreciate your support and love that you're just as excited as we are in this massive achievement.
However, one day I might want to look back on the blog, maybe show the kids, maybe remind myself of specific events and I would surely kick myself (and Jason) if I didn't take the time to share the events of the day with you and future me.
The day of our appointment was an unusual one for Rome and I. Usually it's just him, me, the open road and the Zune on shuffle. This day, we had Daddy and Izzy riding along for the big day, too! Although Roman didn't say, "Hey, what's up guys?" I think he knew that this day was extra special!
When the Potter crew walked into the PT room, we saw all of the walkers sitting out and waiting for us. Roman looked past them and saw GIANT COLORFUL BALLS! So naturally, we played a little first. While the kids played, the PT, Mr. Potter and I discussed the best type of walker for Rome, size, technique and how our lives were about to change.
I have spent many nights not sleeping and crying, thinking about the day Roman would get his walker. I thought how he would do. "What if he can't-does this mean we get a wheelchair?" I thought about people staring at him, saying negative things to him. I wondered how I would answer questions from little kids regarding the walker. I wondered more how I would answer questions from adults. I thought about Isabelle, Carter and Collin and our soon-to-be Sullivan. Will they be more open-minded about people with disabilities? Will they advocate, will they tell bullies where to stick it? Most of my sleepless nights were centered around Roman. He's gone nearly 2 years without equipment and without anybody taking a second look at him. Most people wouldn't even know that he's labeled, "special needs"
Nobody knew the tornado of emotions that were swirling in my head and in my heart that day. Roman and Izzy were playing, and Jason and I nodded nervously to the PT. I thought my whole body would just implode the moment she said, "Okay, let's try this." But it didn't. I didn't even cry. The first try Roman didn't do so well. He didn't quite understand what to do. Luckily, his sister came to the rescue. She agreed to show him using a larger walker. She started walking towards us. We cheered and hollered and made a HUGE fuss over her. When she walked to me we all gave her high-fives and big hugs.
Roman, not to be outdone by anybody didn't even wait to be put in the walker. He crawled to it, and with a little help stood up in it. He walked directly to his cheering squad. He walked so far we had to keep backing up. He's got it. Our little boy can walk!
I thought this was it, we would talk about ordering him one and then head home. But the PT suggested we go out to the lobby and do some walking out there.
Um, wait a minute...the lobby? Um, there are people out there. People whose names I don't know. Strangers. People.
Roman seems to have less social anxiety then his mother. In fact, he seemed to perform even better with a small audience of onlookers. Most of whom looked, smiled, shared an expression of, "aww" to me and moved on. As a side note, nobody pointed, laughed, or asked weird and uncomfortable questions to us.
I spent so much time fretting, crying, biting my nails and eating chocolate at midnight. FOR WHAT!? In all of my foolish worrying I didn't take time to think of the good this walker will bring. Roman is standing up and playing with his sister, he's seeing things on a different level, he's participating like a 2 year old now. And pretty soon he'll confront stares and people giving us that apathetic "aww" look with his world-famous, war-ending, laugh-inducing smile.
I just remember those words, "Your son won't walk and probably won't be able to use his legs."
What a difference 21 months can make. Seems like a lifetime ago. We of course never mentioned those grim words to Roman. He is far too stubborn, far too optimistic, far beyond driven - he didn't get the memo.