imageThere is a mother I recently met, I’ll call her Lisa. Her daughter, Zoe, is bound to a wheelchair. Zoe has very little use of her arms, the muscles so tight they are pinned up against her chest, her hands curled into little balls. Zoe’s legs, which are of little use to her, are covered in a blanket. Lisa is the daily operator of Zoe’s wheelchair. Yet, I have very rarely seen Lisa walk behind Zoe’s wheelchair.

She runs.

As Lisa takes flight, ground flying under her feet, exuberant with energy, Zoe’s eyes tilt toward the sky, hair blows back from her forehead, and laughter radiates through her vocal chords. Freedom.

I believe positivity, in it’s essence, is often misunderstood as a pretend place where life is all smiles. But after meeting people like Lisa and Zoe, my mind is opening to it’s greater complexity.

Life is full of challenges for everyone. And, when you have a child with special needs, the challenges are very apparent. You hear over and again, all of the experiences your child will NOT have. Having a positive outlook is not denying those challenges, or pretending everything is A-ok. Positivity is a focus, a mindset.

Positivity is finding a way.

When Wil was a baby, he was diagnosed with low muscle tone and cognitive delays. Yet, today, Wil runs down the soccer field with his typical peers. He does not run as fast as they do, but he runs faster for them, and they slow down for him. It is a team effort, in the truest essence of the word.

Watching Wil laughing, grass flying under his feet with his teammates, my heart overflowing for him, I think of Zoe, laughing, watching the clouds fly fast above her, her mom’s heart pumping, enjoying the ride as much as she does.

The doctors told Lisa that Zoe would never run, but Lisa found a way.

Positivity is not a pretend place where life is all smiles. Positivity is a mindset. Positivity is where freedom lives.

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