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Where you start is not where you finish
Posted Mar 27, 2019 by Jacquie Robison
The first time I touched my hands to my newborn daughter, I said, "she's just so tiny."

My husband stood there with me; he had been in the delivery room during the emergency c-section to welcome her to the world and when the doctors took her from my belly, he was the one who saw that she wasn't breathing. I was laying there...straining to hear the plaintive wail the movies depict. There wasn't one.

Now, seeing her intubated and jaundiced, I was scared to hold her and I was scared to let her go. My parents had traveled to be with us, and I searched their faces for some sign that everything was going to be ok. I got nothing. In all fairness, they're parents to 6 kids, and had seen just a little more of life than me, so they knew better than to insist that everything was going to be ok. That's a throwaway line.

But, I vividly recall my dad saying, "Just remember that where you start is not where you finish."

My dad was born on a farm in Western Ontario, Canada. As the eldest of three children, he learned early on the importance of a strong work ethic, honoring commitments and bringing in the cows.

As children, we often begged him to tell us stories from when he was a little boy. These tales transported us to an experience we knew nothing about as city kids: driving a tractor at 11 years old ...being chased by the turkey gobbler...going to school in a one-room schoolhouse.

He spoke so fondly of days spent at the elbow of his father, my Grandpa Jack. The education was not so much about farming as it was about life. Showing up. Doing the work. Valuing family and friendships. Being someone that others can count on. Being someone you can be proud of.

It was exactly what I needed to hear, and it's a truth I tell myself almost every day. It was on a loop in my mind when we finally brought Sofia home from the hospital after two months. It sprang to mind when I heard "your daughter has Cerebral Palsy" when she was 18 months old. It has been a mantra, a touchstone and a lifeline. I whispered it when she was in surgery for the selective dorsal rhizotomy, again when she took her first, unaided steps and when I saw her twirl in a recent ballet performance.

It's not just for her; it's for me and for all of us. Warrior moms and dads --family and friends. The community we're building and the support we're creating.

"Where you start is not where you finish."