Remember when you first learned how to swim? Most of us walked into the shallow end and gradually made our way into deeper waters. This works just fine when we are learning how to swim but I have found in life that taking the deeper end is better. One of my favorite bands, Two Door Cinema Club, has a song called Beacon. A line from that song resonated with me and it has stuck ever since I first heard it:
Take the deep end, swim till you can’t stand
cuz it will make a difference in the end.
After finding out that my two sons have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, I made a decision to help them grow up as normal as possible. I kept them in school until 10th and 11th grade and they went to regular class. Unfortunately, I had to withdraw them from school for health reasons and help them earn their G.E.D.s. They participated in field trips, had friends over to play, went swimming and even rode horses. They did homework, played clarinets in band and were like any other teenager despite their physical limitations. It may have been easier to throw my hands into the air and put them into special education, but I knew that would not be the best in the long run.
I still run into situations almost everyday when I have to remind myself to take the deep end. There are many evenings when I do not feel like cooking but I know that giving them convenient junk will only accelerate their disease. I was not the “cool” mom who let her kids drink soda and eat tons of sugar. I knew early on that it would only make their futures worse. Yesterday morning, I did not want to clean my house. I did it anyway because doing just one thing can make the world a better place – whether it’s something big like helping a disabled child through school or something small like picking an object off of the floor for someone. I was floored when my youngest son, Andrew, told me that he would drop a pencil onto the floor only for another kid to just look at it and walk away. We need to teach each other to help and to care. We need to take the deep end because it will make a difference in the end.