"Our Little Trooper"

"Our Little Trooper"
"Let me live, that I may praise you!" Psalm 119:175

Saturday, August 15, 2015

"See Mom...sometimes we think it's a wrong turn or a bad day, but really God just has a different plan than us."

Today started out kind of crazy.  I had to get up at 5:00 am because Rowan and I were driving to Fredericksburg for a 5K run.  First, Rowan's central line wasn't flushing well and I couldn't get blood return. I changed the cap, put as much heparin as I could get into the clogged line, and told Rowan that we needed to let that sit and if it wouldn't flush in an hour or two, that we would need to make a trip to the hospital for some tpa.  Then, I went downstairs and our 2 large dogs had gotten sick all over the kitchen, multiple times overnight...like 20 times!  As soon as I cleaned it up, they started at it again.  It was disgusting. One of them- the Lab "Zeke" had been coughing horribly all night and sounded like he had kennel cough (we boarded them just last weekend).  I didn't know what to do.  Once we finally left, and I started driving in the dark through the hill country, I accidentally ran over a bunny, killed a possum, and then a few miles down the road, hit what looked like a wild turkey!  It was unreal.  I have to admit, a couple of times I wondered if I should just turn around, and considered that maybe I was not supposed to go to the charity run this morning. 

Then, I thought about the importance of the run, and in whose memory we were participating.  This sweet angel's face came to my mind, and I knew that none of these truly trivial issues should stop Rowan and I from getting to Fredericksburg in time for the run.

And I thought of her parents, and how much I wanted to be there to support them, and honor Avery's memory.

Avery Lynn Canahuati was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) as an infant.  Her parents created a bucket list for her, and made many special memories as they checked some of those items off.  Unfortunately, she passed away before she could complete them all, just before she turned 6 months old. Since her death, her parents have been able to raise over a million and a half dollars for SMA research in Avery's name (another bucket list item).  Today's BrAvery run was held in order to raise SMA awareness and to help raise money for SMA research.  Rowan and I were honored to participate and so excited to help such a worthy cause, so more precious angels like this beautiful baby girl can live longer fuller lives.

By the grace of God, Rowan and I somehow did arrive on time.

Those of you who know Rowan well, know that he (a) is a late riser, and (b) does not have much stamina when it comes to walking long distances.  I don't know what we would do without his medical stroller.  There are just so many days where either one of his medical conditions or medicine side effects, cause him to be extra sleepy, weak or off-balance.  He typically can't even walk all the way from the parking garage to clinic on his own, and he often doesn't wake before noon or one o'clock.  However...a few days ago Rowan asked me, "How long is this race?"  I told him "3.1 miles".  He told me that I better bring his medical chair/stroller, and I said that I would for sure.  Then he asked me, "What is this run called?"  I told him it was the "BrAvery Run".  He immediately perked up and said "Bravery, BrAvery, oh br-AVERY!  This one is the one for baby Avery?"  I told him it was and he said, "Never mind, I won't need my chair.  I'm going to walk it myself.  She's worth it!"  

Now, I of course knew, though valiant, that his plan was probably a little lofty for him.  There was just no way he would walk or run 3.1 miles, or even half of that, especially at 7:30 in the morning.  So, I told Rowan he could start the race in his chair, and walk whenever he felt like it.

Here he is with Laura, Avery's Mommy, who is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside:)

The sun was barely up when they started with an opening prayer and the National Anthem.  

Then, we were all off!

I only pushed Rowan about a block in his chair before he told me to stop so he could get out and walk himself.  His smile says it all.  He was so proud to be walking for SMA, walking for Avery.

Granted, his energy didn't hold up very long at all (not even the length of one block), but I told him it was the fact that he was there, and that it meant just as much for me to push him the 3 miles as it did for him to walk it.  So, Rowan and I did our very first 5 K ever.  My goals were simple: finish the race, don't come in dead last, and try to do it in under an hour.  So, we walked most of the time, did not come in last, and did finish in under an hour!  Success!

As we rounded the corner for the finish line, Avery's Mom, Laura told Rowan, "Somehow, I always get a burst of energy at the end, once I can see the finish line, then I can run again.  There's just something about it."  Rowan looked at me and smiled, and said, "OK, let's do this."  

He got back out of his medical chair...

and he ran...  

  he ran for SMA awareness...  

he ran for baby Avery...

...and for her family...

...and he had such a great time doing it!

I was so very proud of him, and felt blessed to share this moment with him, with Avery's family, the other runners, and with the other families with children battling SMA or those with children whom had lost their battle...

 It was a humbling experience.

The final event was the children's "Fun Run".  It was a very short sprint, for all of the children in attendance.  Rowan wanted to do this one as well, and he ran the whole way.

...crossing the finish line for a second time...in style, with his peace sign:)

Rowan received a blue ribbon for the Fun Run...

...and a 3rd place medal for his age group, in the 5 K...

Not bad for his first time:)

Just as Rowan and I headed out, it started to rain really hard.  We were so glad the weather had held out until after the race.

We weren't headed straight back to New Braunfels after the race.  Rowan and I had two more stops in San Antonio- one to drop off some back to school supplies donations to a friend for her classroom, and another to drop off some back to school clothes for a child in need.  I ended up making a wrong turn, taking us somewhat out of our way.  Rowan heard me say I went the wrong way, and asked me if we were lost.  I told him we weren't, but that I just made a wrong turn, so it might not end up being the fastest way to go.

A few minutes later, Rowan looked out his window and yelled, "Mommy, look! Avery is so happy about the race today!"

I looked over and saw the longest, brightest, most stretched out rainbow I had seen in a long time.  These pictures might not do it justice, since I was just trying to snap them quickly out of the car window, but I hope you can see it well enough.  After about 30 minutes, Rowan told me, "It's still following us!"  And he was right.  We could see it for miles and miles.

Rowan was quiet for a while, and when he broke the silence, he blew me away once again with his wisdom and faith.  He said, "See Mom, sometimes WE think it's a wrong turn or a bad day, but really GOD just has a different plan than us. If we didn't make a wrong turn, we might not have ever seen Avery's rainbow.  And it started out like a bad day this morning, but it wasn't at all!  We just have to be patient...He'll show us."

Amen Rowan.  Lesson learned.

Next time you think you're having a bad day, or you get upset about making what you consider to be a wrong turn...just wait.  You never know what God has in store for you!

And please, please, don't take a single moment of your life for granted...

***To read about Avery's Story, or for more information on SMA, check out her family's blog: www.averycan.blogspot.com, go to www.thegsf.org to follow the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation.  To donate or get involved, visit Sophia's Cure Foundation at www.sophiascure.org or www.fightsma.org.

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