World Cerebral Palsy Day

Originally Posted October 10, 2016

 I started to cry just trying to think about what to write about my daughter, about how she changed me, how she influenced our family, how she made us a family.  Tears are streaming down my cheeks as I begin to share what she taught me, and what I hope her legacy can teach the world.  

She is one of the four loves of my life (maybe five if you count my sweet lab Zeke), she was the child who turned my husband and I into a family.  She challenged everything we thought we knew about parenting, as any child does.  She made us stronger, she gave us purpose.  I am so lucky to have a loving and supportive husband and Eliza’s two amazing siblings; but she was my first born.

Eliza had cerebral palsy, as a parent I don’t think I fully accepted her disability until she was going into kindergarten.   I didn’t see a child who couldn’t walk or talk, I saw a child full of potential and trying her best to learn.  I saw a child who couldn't do it yet, but one day she would.  A child who found so many ways to communicate and to get what she wanted.  She was so full of expression and I know she had so many ideas.  One look into her eyes and you knew that she understood everything around her, she was very curious and observant. She loved everyone and would always be excited to see a friend.  She was the most tenacious and resilient kid I have ever known. She never gave up. These things are her legacy: Be Kind, Be Strong and Always Try Your Best.

Today is World Cerebral Palsy Day, which seems like a good day to begin sharing her life and her story.  I can honor her by remembering all that she brought to our family, and I can try to  honor every person living with Cerebral Palsy by having an idea of the challenges and rewards this disability can bring.  

Over the coming months and years I hope to share her story with you.  I hope it will help to make the world more understanding and I hope that we are able to use this knowledge to create change and inspire inclusion.  We are so lucky that Eliza was loved by so many.

Tanya Sheckley