Each time I look at those big, blue eyes of his, I melt like butter on a hot day.
Our son, Zacharias Tyrell Dawson, is two years old. He was born early, weighing less than three pounds at the time of his birth; yet even from the start it was evident that he was a little fighter.
Zacharias was also born with cerebral palsy that's left him depending on a wheeled walker and leg braces for mobility. Sometimes he uses a wheelchair; however, he prefers his walker; it's easier for him.
Zacharias has trouble talking; he has speech therapy twice a week, to help him speak better, communicate more effectively. He loves his therapy sessions; to him it's not work: it's more like a game for him. He always has the best time.
Zacharias is our second child. His older brother, Zebediah Charles, who is four, is his defender, his protector if you will. Whenever big kids are being mean to little Zachy, making comments about his disabilities, there's Zebby, yelling "That's not nice! Stop it!" at the tormentors. Somehow that makes us feel better; yet at the same time it saddens us because some people do not understand what it's like to parent a child with special needs.
They sometimes feel that Zachy's problems are our fault; yet we had no inkling that our baby-to-be was even going to be born with anything wrong.
He came early; once he got over the initial breathing problems, he seemed to be doing good, but at about the time he was learning to sit up, this was when we discovered that he had weak muscle tone. This was when he was diagnosed as having cerebral palsy, a movement disorder characterized by spasticity and slow developmentl milestones.
Of course, when we found out that our son was disabled, we were devastated. All our plans for him evaporated like that, instantly. However, once we got over the grief, we were determined to give him all the help he needed, give him as normal of a life as we could. We still do this today.
We don't hide him from people. We share him with the world--wheeled walker, wheelchair, and leg braces--everything. If people can't accept our son because of his disabilities, then they are the ones with the true problem, not us. Our son is a child first, a child who happens to have a physical disability that is beyond his control.
We are going to show off his assets: his smile, his big, bright-blue eyes, halo of curly red hair, and freckled nose, his big, belly laugh guaranteed to put smiles on the faces of others. Zacharias is a very happy, outgoing child, and we are not going to deny him anything.
Zacharias is a child with much potential, and above all, he is a miracle, a miracle that should have not been born. Every day we have with him is a gift from God, and we intend on giving back to God what He's given to us through our child with special needs.
I think we're doing a pretty good job of it.