I’ll never forget the day you came into our lives. It was a humid early October morning, the kind we often remember as the last of the warm days before the brief reprieve we call winter here. You were there that morning to evaluate my son for ECI, and within minutes I could see the love and dedication you have for what you do. Before long, I saw that same love and dedication become not only for your job, but for my son. It was through you that I’d learn to think big and never underestimate what he was capable of.
For the entire time I have known you I knew I would end up writing this. I could see myself sitting here now typing painful, but so necessary, words. In my heart, the circumstances were far different than a move six short months before your time with us would end when he aged out of the program, but the emotions are the same. So here I am, writing a goodbye two years in the making.
You told me from the beginning that Avery was capable of anything. Far before his formal diagnosis of CP or polymicrogyria, you stressed to me that he was strong and determined. You saw such potential in him despite the fact that at nearly one year old he could not roll over, sit up, or do much beyond laying like a newborn. I wouldn’t let myself feel the kind of hope that you felt. My heart needed protecting. If he did not do all the things you thought he would, I didn’t want my heart to be broken.
Only a month into our time together I watched him roll over with you. I cried. A year’s worth of emotion poured out of me so effortlessly, as you would find it often did when you were around. You’d say “If I’m here and you haven’t cried yet, something must be wrong!” Normally I’d be saddened by this, but every single tear I ever cried, save those last ones, were happy tears. I want you to leave our family knowing this.
If it weren’t for you I would not have the skills to help my son continue to progress. You gave me the tools I needed to strengthen and support him. Your hard work saw Avery go from completely immobile to taking steps. We got to celebrate Avery learning to sit up, crawl and stand. All of those things are credited to you.
Sometime when you’d first began seeing Avery, in those early, fear filled days, I asked you if you thought he would be able to walk one day. You gave me a crazed look of disbelief and asked me if I knew my son. Of course I did! “Well then yes, he will!” And he did.
Avery walks because of you.
I want you to know that we love you. You have done something for our family that only you were capable of. Not only will it be your therapeutic skills but also who you are intrinsically that we will miss. Your cheerful disposition and no-nonsense approach would turn Avery’s bad attitudes around every week. Even when he fought you for every kneel or stretch you never gave up on him.
Your dedication to our special kids shows me how much good is left in this world. Every family entering ECI and beginning the blind journey of special needs parenting should be gifted with a Leanne of their own.
From the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you. I’ll do everything I can to ensure than my son grows up to remember you and what you’ve done for him. What you did for us. What you will do for countless other kids like him.
Physical therapists become the unsung heroes far too often. Your job is a difficult one. And emotionally taxing and sometimes sad one. I know it isn’t always easy. So please, know how much your work means to us. Without you, I don’t want to think about were Avery would be today. I know without question that he wouldn’t be the sassy, headstrong little boy who now takes independent steps. That’s all you.
A physical therapist changed my sons life. You changed my sons life.
Thank you, for everything.