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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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The Spirit of Travis: Special Needs Parenting 101
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Sunday, January 13, 2008

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A little boy teaches his family much about accepting those who are considered "different".

To look at him, one wouldn't think he would make an impact; yet whenever people see (or meet) our son, they are always left with a sense of amazement and wonder, surprised that a little boy can make such a huge difference.

Travis Ryan, our second oldest son (we have five children, two girls, three boys). When born, doctors didn't think he'd live: he was born with many problems, among them being cerebral palsy, brain damage, blindness, and mental disabilities.

Travis was born five months early, weighing less than a can of soda pop: doctors were ready to write him off right then; yet my little guy thrived. Oh, how he thrived!

Travis continues to thrive today. He is now eight, our miracle boy, a child who continues to defy all odds placed upon him.

Travis can't walk or talk or even see, yet he has a heart full of love; he knows how to bring out the best in people. Through him, through his many challenges, people learn to see firsthand to see just how truly blessed they really are; they soon learn about tolerance, accepting those who aren't at all like them, those who are "different".

No, it isn't an easy life.

How often we have wished our son to be able to run, see the beauty of life around him, be able to sing/dance or speak!

We are the ones who have been blessed by him. Travis will never know what it is to say mean things, never knowk about hate, war, violence; all he hears are words of praise, tolerance, love, acceptance.

Travis loves the feel of a soft, warm kitten or puppy on his lap, the sound of a babbling brook, the feeling of hands gently holding him, so he doesn't fall. Travis loves music, the sounds of our voices, as we read or talk to him, the feel of warm water as we bathe him. Eating is an adventure: each new taste, a discovery.

Travis loves going to church or school. At school, he is very popular: everybody wants to be his friend. They know he is a great listener, and even though he can't talk, his eyes speak volumes.

Travis loves the praise and worship at church: this is when I have to hold his wheelchair still because the music prompts him to do his special "rocking" dance. Sometimes I swear he'll soar with the angels because he has such a huge grin on his face. He laughs and squeals happily: it's his way of praising the Lord.

We know Travis loves Jesus. Whenever we talk about Him, Travis will laugh and hold his hands up as if offering praise. We hope that Travis will bring others to the Lord as only he can, even though he is (mostly) silent.

We also know that when he goes to Heaven, Jesus will make Travis whole. That will be a joyful day indeed!

~The End.~

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Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 1/14/2008
As always your story moved me.....God knows who can take care of children with special needs...not something every other person can cope with!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Georg Mateos 1/14/2008
How can anyone imagine how is the world of Travis? because he can feel, can't he? pain, sorrow, happiness, solitude, darkness, yes he can feel, but, do we?
Excellent and poignant.
Reviewed by Felix Perry 1/14/2008
The burden of being a parent of one of these special needs children is a heavy one, not only in monetary costs but in emotional and physical ones on the parents, which shows a parents love is special.

Reviewed by Charlie 1/13/2008
It'll be interesting to see relatives in heaven, won't it. I've got a one-armed uncle who died last year. --wonder what he looks like with 2 arms... .. .--Charlie
Reviewed by Sheri Uy 1/13/2008
A wonderful telling of a story filled with deep love and tenderness... You are a person with a big heart, Karen. And i love, love, love you! My dear friend.

Lots of tight hugs,
Reviewed by Carole Mathys 1/13/2008
As always Karen, a wonderful heart touching story line...

love, Carole~
Reviewed by Ann Scarborough 1/13/2008
I agree with Rose, Karen. Thank you for sharing your perception or real love for that is what it is. Travis knows Jesus and knows he is loved, as are you.
Reviewed by Rose Rideout 1/13/2008
Thank you for sharing what real love is.

Newfie Hugs are coming your way, Rose
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 1/13/2008
It seems that although Travis has been handed a raw deal in life, being unable to see, talk, walk, it is his parents who have been blessed with love in its most basic, innocent form. An excellent heartwarming story, Karen, well penned.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 1/13/2008
An excellent story
God Bless

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