What Hope Looks Like

by Maria Spencer

In my daughter Olivia’s sixteen years, I have seen many hope-filled days. I have seen her improve in areas at school that we never dreamed of, have seen her run track and always, always defy the odds that were given to her as a baby.

But in the past several months, I have seen her do something that is beyond my wildest dreams or imaginations. Just when I think she has reached a plateau in her physical abilities…she surprised me once again.

Sara Groves’ lyrics say it best, “Hope has a way of turning its face to you, just when you least expect it.”

Olivia has loved the show Dancing With the Stars for the past 3 years—she loves watching all of the professional dancers and the stars, and has gained a love for ballroom dancing. As a mom, I would always cringe inside a little when we would watch, thinking that she loves this type of dance and she would most likely never be able to have the coordination to dance….

This past October, Olivia and I were invited to attend a ballroom dancing meet and greet event at a local studio. It was designed to show participants a few basic dancing steps, and advertise their classes.

During the time when we were able to practice the steps we learned with an instructor, Olivia started to dance…truly dance—I sat in shock and awe as she was able to maneuver around the dance floor, remember the steps and keep the rhythm of the music.

When the night was over, she informed me that she wanted to take ballroom dance lessons. Even though my heart was hesitant (because as a mom, I don’t ever want to set her up to fail)… I said yes.

Well, needless to say, she’s been taking lessons ever since and I am still in awe. The motor planning that goes into her body being able to dance is beyond what our bodies require—it is amazing in every sense of the word.

Have you lost hope that your child won’t reach dreams or goals that you have for him or her? Are you not able to see with your eyes of faith the accomplishments in the future—no matter how big or small?

Regardless of what your child’s different abilities may be, I encourage you to never underestimate the power of hope.

Sara Groves’ song goes on to say, “It’s been awhile since I felt this, but it feels like it might be hope.”

No matter how long it has been since you have had this feeling-don’t stop believing that it may be around the corner, in the next room or right in front of you.

Regardless of what your child’s different abilities may be, I encourage you to never underestimate the power of hope.

This pictures of my Olivia is not only what hope feels like, but this is what hope looks like.

Maria Spencer is the wife of Michael and the mother of Jonah and Olivia; they reside in Poland, OH. Her daughter Olivia a person with hemiplegic cerebral palsy. Maria is a Regional Coordinator for the Early Childhood Resource Center. Maria writes a monthly column for the Mahoning Valley Parent Magazine and Mid-Ohio Valley Parent entitled, “Special Parents, Special Kids.” She has stories published in “Women of Passions: Ordinary Women Serving an Extraordinary God”, compiled by Janet Ross, and “A Patchwork of Freedom” compiled by Lori Wagner. Maria is an inspirational speaker, blogger, parent coach and disability consultant. Maria is passionate about spreading the word to other special parents that they were chosen for their journey, and they are not alone.