When Nay was first diagnosed, it was paralyzing for me. It didn't change my behavior toward him nor my love for him, but hopes/dreams/expectations were obscured in a thick cloud of uncertainty and unanswered questions when we attempted to look forward. With a little time and a lot therapy, the true strength of Nathan's intellect showed through. It was all we needed to see. I say we. Amanda was probably there the whole time. Our task was clear, keep him on grade level academically and help him "catch up" socially and in his verbal learning and communication skills as quickly as possible. Our hope was to have him ready for college by the time he graduates high school. It presented a lofty summit, a wide river to swim for us all. Refusing the challenge was unconscionable.
Still, we're proud, insanely proud. Only those who have known Nathan since our "Texas life" can truly grasp how far he's come. Those who saw him very early here have some idea. The only real consolation is in looking back and seeing the tiny speck far below that was our starting point 16 years ago. We may not have made the summit, but we've climbed far higher than I ever dreamed when we stood in that tiny spot.
Again in life our path diverges from most of our peer group. As they work on choosing universities, pursuing scholarships, completing military applications, etc., we are working on SSI, ARCO, and other disability services applications. We may not have succeeded in what we'd hoped, but we will not stop climbing. We will continue to swim with all our might.
Unlike one phrase in "Bravado", we consider nothing in vain. Love does remain. We will climb until our dying breath. We will swim until the shore is reached, or until time pulls us under. We will continue to pay the price. Even at our final moment, we will not count the cost.