My good friend Michelle over at the phenomenally funny and well-written blog "A Day In My Life" has inspired yet again with this video of "Team Hoyt." In case I'm not the only one who hasn't heard of them, they are a father-son duo who have competed in (get this) over 1,000 marathons and triathlons. Oh, um, did I mention the 47 year old son has severe Cerebral Palsy, cannot speak, and is wheelchair confined and the 66 year old dad basically carries him the entire way?
This is love, unmeasurable. This is perseverance and dedication unmeasurable. This is a huge reminder to our entire society - Don't discount the people in the world who are not "typical." Where there is heartbeat and breath, there is a person of value, with hopes and dreams. And, in one way or another, a person who can achieve his/her dreams. Sometimes with a little help. That's where the love of another comes in. This father epitomises the power of unconditional love, joy, commitment, devotion, and faith in his child. He does not see "disability." He sees his son; a man who can have a rich life, and as a father, he will let no obstacle interfere with that goal.
As a parent, we all run our triathlons of life. When you're the parent of a child with special needs, particularly when those needs are multiple and extrodinary, it can feel as if life is one giant Iron Man. The Hoyt's story is beyond amazing, in its own right. It is also a sort of metaphor for all parents who care for a child with special needs. Emotionally, physically, cognitively, spiritually, we carry that child with us through each day, even when we are exhausted in our souls. We carry them. Sacrificing. Enduring. We may not be literally biking and swimming and racing hundreds of miles, but symbolically we are. And when we do it with joy and love, it stops feeling like a burden. Instead, it becomes the thing that makes us stronger; more determined. It deepens our hearts, reshuffles our priorities, and calls upon an inner strength we never realized we possessed. Instead of a weighing down it is a challenge that when met, leads to a far more fulfilling and joyfully relevant life than we may have realized. Though it is never without tears, pain, sacrifice, and grief for what we left on the curbside on the day the diagnosis was delivered to us.
When we get to the place (and it is a journey to get there, at least on more days than not) and we really open ourselves up to this whole unique experience, we grow and change and better each other . Together with our child, we both live richer lives. We become Team Hoyt. Stronger and more inspiring together than we could ever be apart.
Go ahead and watch this video and be ready to weep because the power of it will touch you deeply. Then please, go over and visit Michelle whose blog inspired me to post this as well. Give her a little 'thanks.'
To learn more about the Hoyt's amazing story, go to their website www.teamhoyt.com.