Thursday, December 13, 2007

My son Michael was born in 1998, not too long after the McCaughey septuplets were born. I have been reading about these kids over the years, watching them grow up. Last night, I saw their latest update on Dateline, about the kids in their tenth year. (This was aired last year, but I must have missed it.) This time, though, I was watching for a different reason: I was curious to see more about the two septuplets who had the more serious health problems, Nathan and Alexis.

Both Nathan and Alexis have cerebral palsy with other health and neurological problems. It broke my heart to see how much they have worked to get to where they are. They both struggled to be able to walk. They have had countless doctors' appointments, medical issues, and learning disabilities. I suppose in the back of my head I am thinking about Brady and all he will have to endure as well, and what he is enduring right now.

But then Ann Curry asked the question, "Knowing now where Alexis is, do you feel any regret about your decision to carry all seven babies?" The McCaugheys knew there was an increased risk of cerebral palsy by carrying so many babies to term instead of selectively reducing the number of fetuses.

The mother, Bobbi, answered. "How could I? Look at Alexis. There's not a person in this world who loves being alive more than she does. How could I feel sorry that I had all of my children?"

It's amazing how a different perspective can change the entire meaning of a life. Nathan has worked very hard, enduring two major surgeries, to walk. His father said that Nathan was "determined to conquer this physical impediment. That's what his legacy might be."

So what if it is easy for me to walk? It may be hard for Brady, but it may be easier for him to be happier in life than for me. It seems that way for little Alexis McCaughey. She is fiercely loved by her siblings... the brothers who run quick and play football and the sister who has been inspired by her to become a doctor. And Nathan has struggled, but he has also inspired others around him to be stronger, to strive for more than what was given.

I know all our children are inspirations. It may sound kooky, but I was definitely inspired by these little children, who have endured so much. I say "so much" , but they may look at me and think that the things that I have endured are "so much" when to me it is just my life. Perspective. Hmmm.....


Laura said...

So true. Michaela is just about the happiest, content, self-confident kid I've ever known. I don't think she knows to feel sorry for herself....a good thing.
All of these kids are such an inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

PS--Is it snowing down your way? We now have a solid 5-6 inches in 3 hours. The kids are psyched!

Ange said...

Great post. I watched the show last night too. (I didn't know it had previously aired). Amazing. The next time James is having a devil day, I'll be sure to think what havoc 7 could cause!!

Julie said...

I just want Noah to be happy. Isn't that really what most of us want for our children? I need to remember that he is happy. He can't walk yet, he barely talks and the list goes on and on of the things kids his age are doing that he isnt, yet he is the happiest kid I know. I try to remember that the things I want for him he may not need to be happy.

Nancy said...

I love that smile of Brady's.

This definitely ain't what you probably signed up for, but you are doing a great job, and Brady is going to be one happy guy, no matter what challenges he may face. I worry about Erik being different, but I guess I'll deal with each problem as it comes and TRY not to fret about them before they get here. Easier said than done.

Every minute counts.... said...

It really is perspective isn't it.
Abi is happy and that should truly be all that matters. We always tease my husband who is a big goof ball most of the time...Abi will NEVER be embarrised by what her father does..she just loves him the way he is. The other three cringe when dad starts singing and dancing in public. Abi just laughs and joins in! That is confidence!

Tara said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I missed that interview...but more than anything I want Payton to be happy.

Michelle said...

wow I didn't realize they are 11 this year! You're right about it putting everything in to perspective and I loved Bobbi's answer too.

Ava Jewel Leilana said...

Thank you for sharing, so so true. It is amazing all our children go through and they are so happy.

Ava Jewel Leilana said...

We wish you all the beauty, cherished traditions, and joys of this lovely holiday season. May you be surrounded with the things you hold dear and enjoy most, now, and throughtout 2008.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from both of us - and remember that broken cookies aren't fattening!
Warm regards
Ann & Ava Jewel xo

Katie said...

That is so true. Happiness really is all that matters in the end.
Thank you for posting - i was feeling really down and you helped me gather my own perspective.

Brady is SO cute!

Teresa & Shawn said...

I love the photos!! (From the other post, too!)

Isn't it amazing how our attitudes can change from knowing these little people in our lives?? I wouldn't trade a day of hardship, challenge, crying, sorrow, any of it if it meant I never got to know Clare the way she is. Much love to you and your boys!!