Friday, March 16, 2012

Logan's Field Day

"Mom, I'm gonna die."

Logan and I were watching sack races on Field Day. Over 600 elementary students from around Phnom Penh gathered for a morning of friendly athletic competition. There was a welcome breeze and lots of sweaty, smiling faces. But Field Day isn’t exactly one of our family’s favorite days.

In Colorado Caleb and Logan attended an exceptional school that met students’ individual needs without making anyone feel different. Shortly after moving to Cambodia one of Logan’s second grade teachers commented, “I don’t think Logan even knows there is anything wrong with him.”

3rd grade Field Day changed that. Logan came home knowing there was something wrong. We had the conversation Joe and I always knew would come. “Logan, you have something called Cerebral Palsy, that’s a way of saying your brain got hurt. Lots of people have it but it looks different in everyone. For you it makes walking and writing harder. You are also legally blind in one eye. That makes it hard to see how close or far away something is and why it takes longer for you to read.”

When 4th grade Field Day came around Logan went with his class. He wore the special Field Day T-shirt and cheered on his classmates but he didn’t want to compete. His teacher understood and so did we.

This year, with the encouragement of his 5th grade teacher, Logan decided to participate in three events: the soft ball throw, class tug of war and the sack race. I had never seen a soft ball in Cambodia and wasn’t sure how to practice tug of war but I did have a pillowcase. So in the evenings Logan practiced sack hopping.

But out on the field, as Logan and I watched the sack races, we both knew he would have a hard time making it. When it was time for his race I looked into his eyes and said, “You don’t have to do this. Dad and I don’t need you to do it. This is only for you, if you want to.” He said, “I want to.”

I helped him into his sack. He hopped his little heart out. He finished the race.

Tears filled my eyes. I wasn’t sad about his disabilities, I was proud of his heart. The innocent days of, “Not knowing anything is wrong with him,” have passed, but his determination presses on.

We are by no means perfect parents; the kids in our home are not perfect either. Logan is a normal kid who needs to grow and mature just like most kids his age. But as I see him step out of little boyhood I catch a glimpse of who he is growing up to be – someone who faces life’s challenges with courage and determination.

It’s amazing to see how God can take imperfection, add a challenge and then create an outcome that is encouraging and even inspiring. Isn’t that awesome? It’s one more reason we love being parents!

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