Mikey To The Rescue

Bill and I decided we would go back to my parents to discuss their proposal about living together. We wanted to be sure they understood what they were getting into. Keep in mind, that at the time, my father was seventy-four and my mother was seventy-one. Bill and I were concerned that it would prove to be too much for them to keep up with a three-year old. After all, it was not like you could pop in a video and let her entertain herself while you took care of something else. Shantel needed constant supervision and attention in the early stages of her mobility, and transition to living blind. There were many other factors to consider as well. Privacy, sharing household expenses, and payment for their daycare services were all things that needed to be discussed. We talked at length about all the details and finally agreed we could make this all work because it was in the best interest of Shantel. We sold our homes, bought a larger home, and moved in together in March of 1996.

Shantel was gaining confidence moving about her environment inside our home. She learned to keep her hands out when walking about and she learned to trail the walls to get from room to room. She was also having weekly mobility lessons at our home to help learn to use a cane so she could move about freely outside.  In fact, Shantel was one of the youngest children at the school for the blind to ever us a cane. A child must have really good wrist strength to hold a cane properly so they stay safe. Shantel mastered handling her cane, but, she was really afraid to go outside. She would not even try to learn to walk around outside without holding someone’s hand.

My parents had two small dogs, Mikey and Rosie. To say these dogs were spoiled would be an understatement of huge proportions. Among other things, my parents would give these dogs ice cream every night. But, Mikey was a little fussy. He would want the ice cream, but he would only eat it if my mother gave it to him out of her hand. She would crawl all over the floor trying to entice Mikey to lick the ice cream off her fingers.  She would be saying things like “oh come on now pretty boy, have some ice cream for mama…” What a sight that was every evening.

Shantel loved both the dogs, but Mikey was her favorite. Mikey was a mild-mannered cockapoo. Shantel loved him from the very start, and Mikey seemed to know that Shantel was special. Mikey spent hours letting Shantel crawl all over him. It was Mikey that was able to get Shantel to venture out of the security of our home to the grassy retention area across the street. One day I asked Shantel if she wanted to take Mikey for a walk with me. She was excited to go and asked if she could hold the leash. I told her she could but that she would have to let go of my hand to hold the leash and keep her cane in her other hand. Shantel agreed and off we went. Until then, Shantel wouldn’t leave our driveway. Walking Mikey was a turning point in Shantel’s recovery that allowed her to begin to learn how to use her cane to travel outside with us walking beside her. From that point on, Shantel and Mikey were inseparable. The moment Shantel woke up in the mornings she would want to know where Mikey was, even before she would say good morning to the rest of us.

For the most part, combining two families went smoother than we anticipated. It wasn’t long before we all fell into a daily family life routine. Bill and I went off to work each day and my parents would make sure Shantel was on the bus, Monday through Thursday, that took her to the school for blind children. There was even a summer activity program at the school. This provided Shantel with an opportunity to play with other children her own age as well as giving her the opportunity to participate in the endless list of social activities such as going to the Zoo, Rock Climbing Gym, Swimming etc. On Friday’s, my parents took care of Shantel all day. Everything seemed to be working out great. Our family unit was normal to Shantel because it was all she ever knew. There were good times and bad, happy times and sad, just like with any other family. We all had a common goal, to provide the best foundation for Shantel to build a life on.

Tune in again for: Adoption Day!

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gotham Girl
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 13:28:14

    I didn’t realize what an impact Mikey had! Wonderful thoughts for other parents in this situation! xoxo

    Reply

    • beyondcinderella
      Feb 15, 2012 @ 15:22:15

      Yes, Mikey was a huge impact on all of us and we were all devestated when it came time to let go of Mikey. That will be a future post! Thanks for your responses. They mean so much to me frissy.

      Reply

  2. Ellen Kaufman
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 15:04:28

    That was beautiful Cindy. I remember when your Mom told me you were going to sell your homes and buy the larger one and make it a home for all of you. I know that would be a big step, but your Mom was raised by our Mom and that is what you do for your family. Your journey in life is just not thinking of yourself and what your pleasures and needs are, but what you can do for others. Your Mom and Dad were delighted to be needed and whatever they could do for Shantel was a hugh job, but they were willing to try and go on this journey. I know somedays were stressful, but sometimes a little stress is good for you and they were able to help you and Bill and be there and know that Shantel would be safe and comfortable.and Mikey would be there for Shantel too.

    Reply

  3. Megs
    Feb 15, 2012 @ 22:42:55

    That’s awesome! Go Mickey!

    Reply

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