Thursday, August 4, 2011

Water Lessons

Benjamin is a water baby. He loves to be wet! Bath times have almost always been an enjoyable experience. He loves to watch the water running out of the faucet. He loves to see the light reflections in the water and gets his face down so close, studying the surface from all different angles. He loves to splash. He loves to have me pour water over him, especially on his hands and feet. Rubber ducks make the experience even more exciting! At the end of bath time, he’s fascinated by the water going down the drain and has even started sliding onto his belly to get a closer look.

Recently Benjamin had his first pool therapy with his new physical therapist. I think it is safe to say it was the most enjoyable therapy session of his life thus far (and he’s had plenty)! He smiled and squealed and didn’t even mind getting his face in the water a bit. His therapist encouraged me to give him lots of opportunities to be in the water.  I knew she was planning a swim night for her client families at the local mini water park/pool, and I was sure to mark the calendar so we could be there. As it would so happen, Shawn had an end of the summer event tonight for the Red Shield Club at The Salvation Army- the same night as the pool party. His event began at 6:00, and the pool party began at 7:00. I attended his program until the reception, and then headed with Benjamin to the pool, where Shawn would later meet us.
Benjamin thought we’d walked into a dream land! There was a kiddie pool that led into a larger pool, (no deep end), and there was so much to see and experience. There was cascading water, mini water spouts, slides, etc. He demonstrated his delight unhindered for an entire hour before his Daddy was even able to come. We sat in the water, played with the water spouts, floated around the baby pool in a baby floating device and chatted with other families. If Benjamin could speak, I think he would have exclaimed, “Mommy, why didn’t we come here sooner? Can we do this every day?!”

When Shawn arrived we were walking around in the big pool. He got changed and happily joined us, then took Benjamin around the whirl pool (a circular canal with a gentle current that helps push you along). We placed him in a flotation device again and walked him all over the place. We had a wonderful time as a family, and it was such a delight to see Benjamin so obviously enjoying himself until he was just too tired to know what to do anymore. (The pool party infringed on his normal bedtime!) It was also special to see so many other families there with their children of all different ages and ability levels, enjoying some family time together. There was everything from a tiny baby who is 6 months old but born 4 months pre-mature to a young man who was being walked around in the pool by his mother. There were some children who had no apparent disabilities, to children with Down syndrome and spina bifida, to older children/teens who appeared to need complete assistance in every area of functioning.

I realized again tonight that we have so much to be thankful for. I want to spend much more time rejoicing in Benjamin’s abilities than in grieving his delays. I don’t want to take for granted his smiles and squeals and contagious little personality. I also want to learn to see all people through God’s eyes, regardless of their outward appearance. The Lord was speaking to me about this earlier in the week. When I look at Benjamin, though I’m aware of his disabilities, I don’t see a disability; I see my son who I love so intensely. I can’t help but love him because he came from me, and he’s mine. I felt the Father whisper, “You may look at someone and see their areas of bondage and sin; I look at them and see the child I so dearly love. They came from My very heart. I can’t help Myself but to love them!” God isn’t focused on our disabilities but on His ability to transform us with His love. Whether the disability is internal or external, I want to see the beauty of each life from Heaven’s eyes. I welcome Him to bring more of these “water lessons” my way!