When He Turns Our Weakness into Strength: My Daughter’s Journey on the Wheelchair and Crutches

It was a typical homeschool Friday with youngest Gino. I was leaving him some homework since I was set to join my daughter in her school’s field day. She was the captain of her house and of course, everyone wants to win in a day of games and relays!

Then I received a call from one of my co-parents, “Raya fell.”

And she fell hard.

She sustained a fracture on the upper portion of her left tibia and would be needing immobilization/ wheelchair and crutches for 6-8 weeks.

 

It’s quite confounding how one single event, one wrong twist, one wrong turn,  or one wrong split of the moment decision results in a myriad of consequences. As we heard “6-8 weeks”,  (and possibly the no running or heavy sports for 6 months), I saw  some things crumble down…… an upcoming school trip to Singapore for a  Youth Environmental Summit, the daily commute to 2nd floor classroom without elevator access, a school play,  her tennis training,  and her plans for summer to take football.

A mother is described as having one heart, her own heart,  plus the number of hearts of her children.  Without any lessons, or any reminders, we just automatically feel what our children feel. So I was beginning to see the repercussions of that fall, I had to  mentally and emotionally rush, rush, run to the finish line so I could feel,  and feel it all,  and find my own strength to carry her through ( literally too!)  And then, without looking back,  take on the “Mama is here” role and show strength for my daughter.

We have heard it again and again that setbacks are good, failures are part and parcel of life. We are encouraged to embrace them and to allow such unfortunate circumstances to build and mold our children. We are asked to back off and not to solve our children’s  predicaments all the time. Sometimes the best thing we can do is, come alongside and just let it unfold. We patiently wait in prayer and in anticipation.

A few days post-inury and few days before a much awaited and anticipated field trip abroad, reality set in and  the whole experience  and the future that was awaiting her overwhelmed my daughter.

After 19 years of being a parent, I have learned that we need to strike some form of balance when we try to uplift our discouraged children. There are dangers of belittling their situation, negating their emotions and feelings as being valid and in over doing the “Life is okay. It could have been worst. Cheer up.  Shake that off .” Sometimes, the best we can do is to listen, to hug and maybe weep with our children as well.  No words (not yet!). Presence and availability  may suffice.

As we began to paint the reality, my daughter then sighed, “It won’t be as fun.”  I am so thankful at that very moment an answer or more like a prophecy came to mind, and I just said, “Yes, it will be different.  But this (pointing to her immobilized leg) will usher in a whole lot of other opportunities and scenarios which may turn out to be fun and interesting too.”   I don’t know why I said that but it was like I had the coolest and most serene peace that all will be well and yes, she will be able to board a bus, navigate through the airport, do the toilet breaks, feed herself and yes board and move around a plane and yes, attend a youth summit in a foreign country without Mama or a relative around. I just knew I had to let her go (Pun so intended!)!

Then one morning, 3 days before their departure, “ I will go, Mom! I can do this.” From then on, I knew it, this is going to be great.

It was more than great indeed.  My daughter came home as the “most cared for student in the entire summit.”  She goes, “Everybody knew who that girl in the wheelchair was!” She came home with so many positive experiences of concern, care and going the extra mile from her classmates and teachers, and even from strangers who empathized with her and did what they could to assist her given her limitation.  Classmates and teachers just rallied to lessen her fears, her limitations and her difficulties.  Parents came to support as well with offers for prayers, wheel chairs,  for extra help, and for reminding their own children to look after Raya. What a blessing, right?

Taking a break from her activities of the Youth Environmental Summit in Singapore

And my best pasalubong (Tagalog term for treats brought by someone who goes for a trip) was her teachers’ words of affirmation and encouragement as they witnessed what a trouper this girl was: patient, flexible, content and cheerful, every step or should we say, turn of the wheel, of the way!!!!!

Of course,  half the time, Raya was with family and I was on Cloud 9 seeing her brothers (Thank the Lord for strong brothers, all taller than her (ok, she may argue if Gino is taller already) who also took on the role of helping her.  When we didn’t know yet how to use the stairs,  Marco for a good number of days, carried her up the stairs  like a backpack!

With eldest brother, Vince.
Love is when you can act like best friends, love each other like family, and protect each other like siblings. www.jarofquotes.com

My favorite date with Raya! Just me, her and this travel wheel chair! It was a good exercise pushing her from the parking, getting lost in the parking (Could you imagine how hilarious that can look) and yes, enjoying what we both love a whole lot, Art!

And the school play went really well! Now, Raya can say she performed, sang, and danced on a wheel chair !

A school play adapted from “Phineas and Ferb”! Guess who Raya was?

Last week, Raya bid farewell to her crutches and her wheelchair. She still walks with some limp as the the leg muscles become looser,  as they need to strengthen and re-learn how to walk efficiently but deep within, I know there is  stronger faith in God, a warmed heart from all the love she had experienced and a deeper gratitude for her healing and the blessings throughout her journey through it all.

I declare the faithfulness of our Good Lord in all this. From setting our hearts and minds at peace to providing the most cool and easy to use travel wheel chair for free, from MRI results that show no ligament tears to an increased faith in God, and a deeper appreciation of  thy “neighbors”                          (schoolmates, teachers, guards, helpers,  driver, siblings, strangers, other PWDS).

Indeed,  this is so true for we have truly witnessed it, “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”  1 Corinthians 12:9.

Thankful, as I close this piece.

 

James 1:12  Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

We are also thankful to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Rolando Angelo “Jello” Ochoa of Asian Hospital and  PT, Karen Basco. And many more thanks  to the Lorenzo, Morris and Fabros families who really made Raya feel so loved and cared for during this time!

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