He tends to be really tight in his legs so his muscles and ligaments haven't kept up with his bones. As he gets taller, gravity and a touch of laziness is making his legs scrunch up little by little.
We've tried exercise programs. We've tried equipment. We engaged a therapist in hopes an outside source would get him motivated to help himself with his own walking. We've stretched him. We've talked to him on and on and on and on. We've encouraged him. We've yelled at him. We've shown him what he could do and what might happen if he doesn't do anything. We've prayed for him. We have lots of people praying for him. We've exercised with him. We've gotten him new walkers and new canes and new braces and tried new ideas. We've told him stories of other young men who have CP who have worked on it and gotten some success.
Nothing motivates him.
He even has a living illustration of what it is like using a wheelchair in his own home every day (his brother Hawk), but he hasn't really cared because he can do what he wants to already. He enjoys movies and TV and laughing with people. Everything he wants to do he does sitting down.
See, he's been trying to find a date for the prom the last two weeks. Yesterday finally, a girl said yes. He told me this in an email. I think I was more excited than he was. When he got home I yelled out the door, "Hurry up."
I wanted to talk about his plans.
He'd have to get a bit faster at walking so it doesn't take him twenty minutes to go to her door, I told him.
He said, "I have to walk to her door to get her?"
And then I told him we'd practice dancing (and even though I don't get to these days, I love to dance. Dances were my favorite part of high school). He wiggled his hips. He moved his shoulders. He did a few Michael Jackson moves with his right hand. He even put weight on his left foot -- the one thing we've been trying to get him to do for months!
Maybe a girl is the motivation he needed to use both his legs.
If this is so, I am thankful. I'll be the first to shout and cheer and be ever so happy. Go Pete Go!
When the right answer finally shows up in our lives, it is amazing. Oh, so amazing.
You know it has to be God when the answer, the perfect answer, the perfect solution appears.
Will the solution for Pete's motivation be the prom date?
Isaiah 40:28 - 31 says:
"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."
God understands us. He understands what will motivate us. He understands why we feel how we feel. He brings things into our lives in His perfect time. When we wait on Him expectantly (hope in Him meaning we know He will come through) our strength will be renewed and we will run!
To see Pete run -- that would be a miracle. But to see him walk on both legs voluntarily -- that too will be a miracle. He can do it if he really wants to. Maybe now he'll really want to. Go Pete Go!