Today has been hard. And I’ve momentarily questioned our decision. And I’ve been shaking all day.  Well, since Peanut’s therapy at least.  His physical therapist (actually, she’s one of several) does not want us to leave on our year-long-big-adventure. She just doesn’t.  She’s scared. And angry.  I could see it in her eyes.

And then when she said, “It makes me angry that you would do this to him”, it sort of gave it away.


OK.  So I ranted for three lines and then deleted them. This isn’t about defending my love for him, so I’ve decided to calm down.  This is about the decision to travel for a year, and how that affects him.  And how we’re building time for his therapy into our weekly schedule/curriculum, so that he continues to get the support and encouragement he needs.

I guess I should back up and tell you bit of his story. You can also read the Times article.

When my Peanut was almost 4 months old, the driver of an SUV — after drinking a few beverages over lunch, while talking on her cellphone, checking her messages from her new boss, and wearing an ankle cast that got stuck in the accelerator— plowed through the wall of his day care. And hit him. Peanut was moved 10ft and pulled out from under the front bumper of the SUV.

His immediate diagnosis was “a compressed spine with injuries to multiple vertebrae as well as misalignment of his cranial plates”.  Shortly thereafter he was diagnosed as “Failure to Thrive” and put on a feeding tube (through his nose) that interrupted his natural hunger cues, and then fitted with restraints to keep him from pulling it out. (Dreamboat and I were taught how to hold him down and reinsert the tube each time he pulled it out).

It took time for the whammy of “Global Developmental Delay resulting from PTSD” diagnosis to appear in his chart. There may have been a concussion.

We spent almost a month in Children’s over four hospitalizations that autumn, mostly related to breathing issues (he wouldn’t. or couldn’t. or didn’t. not sure which).  And then lots, and lots, and then some more, clinic visits, mostly related to eating issues.  All while Peanut’s PTSD got worse, and he withdrew more, and the trauma to his new word continued.

There were times I thought it was over. The end of his life with us.

Many a night I sobbed quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) in the shower in his hospital room.  Doing my best to face how I would deal. And who I would chose to be, when he died.

But he didn’t. And I’m doing a happy dance here.

And over time, and with lots of love and countless therapies. (Really – countless…I print a schedule each week, with his myriad of appointments color-coded, so we can try to keep on top of it all.) He is strengthening. He is growing (FINALLY). He is improving.

The driver of the SUV, 40, who was arriving to pick up her granddaughter, later plead guilty to reckless driving and reckless endangerment. She received a 12-month suspended sentence and 240 hours of community service.

There is no prediction for what Peanut’s future will look like.  But there is lots of hope, while trying not to set expectations too high. Peanut started walking on Christmas day of this year.  Just this month he fed himself a small meal.

Those are the facts.

The emotions are more complicated.  There was relief that he was alive. Gratitude that his injuries weren’t worse. Grief. Anger. Denial. And lots and lots of fear…and the hours of crying in the shower. And tears at the most inopportune moments, like watching the parade on Christmas Eve with the older kids, and aching for Peanut, and Dreamboat who was with him in the hospital, to be with us. There was also time spent with a counselor for families of high-needs children. And lots of conversations with Peanut’s siblings, to help them process it all as well.  And there was lots of love.

And we’re still on this journey.

And there’s boat-loads more to say and lessons learned.  But I’m going to save them for another post. I’m not quite ready.

So, back to the Big Decision…

I may not schedule 11 different therapies a week for him, like I did at first, but I will make sure that Peanut gets the attention, encouragement, and support to continue developing.

There will be LOTS more celebrated milestones.

And one angry therapist won’t deter me from what I think will be a magical year of growth and learning for each one of the five of us.  EACH and EVERY ONE.

Sometimes, you have to push through the fear to accomplish your dreams.



Filed under Aug 2012

25 Responses to Peanut

  1. Dear Heidi, thank you for your post today and all of them. I know you are on a journey, that you are being guided and I have no doubt you will make all of the correct decisions!!!! Keep moving forward and know there are many who support and care!!!

  2. It is patently apparent within five minutes of meeting you that you are an amazing individual. After reading your Blog I realise I had no idea quite how amazing! Your are so right in identifying fear as a very limiting factor, you are truly courageous and will inspire many others to follow their dreams.How can Peanut ( who I am madly in love with already :) )possibly fail to thrive with you as his greatest advocate.I will follow your journey in awe and wonder.

  3. Anonymous

    Heidi, I’m so sorry about this. I have seen you saying stuff about his therapy and such but didn’t know what it was for until now. May God continue to give you wisdom.

  4. Kelli Hildebrand

    What a difficult post this must have been to write. You are so brave to share it with all of us. You are such a loving and devoted mother and Peanut is such an extraordinary and sweet little boy…this journey will be one of great growth and togetherness for all of you. I, for one, am grateful that you are alllowing us to follow along as you move into this remarkable next chapter with your family.

  5. Thank you Heidi. I thought I had a tough day. You put my life in perspective!

  6. Bobby Canody via Facebook

    Heidi, you probably only know me from seeing my random posts on Curt’s profile and the grossly exaggerated stories he has told of our drinking days at the Pinecove……..I just read through some of your blog, gotta finish it now…….but I noticed you guys are planning on doing some East Coast exploring to discover American history. To seek the heart of American history means you are coming to Virginia, the birth place of the US. The Metz family is welcome at our home, right in the heart of Virginia.

  7. Bobby Canody – Thanks! I really appreciate the offer. We’ve not planned that far out, but when we start on the E Coast, we’ll contact you.

  8. Pam Schuman

    Peanut is resilient, resourceful, determined and so very special. His therapist only sees it from her limited perspective. She doesn’t have the whole picture. You do. He will thrive along with the rest of you. God bless your journey.

  9. Anonymous

    Sometimes, you have to push through the fear to accomplish your dreams.

    I love that.

  10. Lynne Donoghue

    My heart soars at this picture of Peanut walking and SMILING, but not with surprise but rather intense pride and admiration for all you and Dreamboat have done to have him get to this point – not the least of which is all the love he is surrounded with. Peanut is blessed to have the two of you, of all the possible parents in the world!

  11. Katie Higgins

    Love that Peanut! Who wouldn’t?!

  12. Kim

    Thank you for sharing Peanut’s story with us. I am sure it was incredibly difficult to write, but I praise you for the honesty and courage to share. The next year is going to be a memorable one full of growth and new adventures. I admire you (and Dreamboat) for the amazing experiences you are providing for your children. They definitely lucked out in the parents category!

  13. Heidi, all of us who have traveled with our children know that you will be better for Peanut than a slew of therapists. I cannot but help to think about how I admired your mom & dad for years in how they lived with JP’s situation and poured out love upon him. Thank you for sharing about Peanut. I had no idea.

  14. Mandie

    I always tell myself the therapists know our special kiddo’s as one part of a whole child, and we as their parents know the whole. So taking him out of a regular PT schedule might not be ok in her book, but she isn’t looking at the whole picture. Therapy breaks are important for so many reasons – child burnout, parent burnout, sibling burnout to name some we deL with! – so surely a break for an awesome adventure us worth it!!!

  15. Kat

    Hey, Heidi,

    Pam told me that you and C. had decided to take this adventure. I think it’s a wonderful, and life-forming, opportunity for Peanut and the entire family. The best thing I ever did, besides forming my family, was the several years I spent abroad. I wouldn’t change those experiences for anything.

    I was surprised by the negative reaction of Peanut’s physical therapist to this sabbatical year. If anything, I would think the converse: the stimulation of other cultures and languages, coupled with the undivided attention of his parents, would be amazing for him and his siblings. Neurologically, it’s extremely enriching for pre-schoolers to have this type of exposure.

    Perhaps the therapist has not had any significant international experience, and reacted from that lack of experience. You wouldn’t believe the amount of grief I got when I didn’t follow my friends out of law school straight into practice, marriage, etc… But I laugh about it now.

    However, it is worth considering that this may be a good opportunity to learn something useful from her before you depart. Why not ask her what her specific concerns are, and see if she can provide some P.T. tips or exercises to help ward off whatever she is worried about? It certainly couldn’t hurt, and may even help.

    People are afraid of change and the unknown, and that is understandable. But I’m glad you will be sailing forth, literally and figuratively. Too many people put their dreams on hold.

    A French friend of mine posted this quote from the Dalai Lama- here it is in English, and very appropriate to the occasion, and decision:

    The Dalai Lama was asked what surprised him the most;
    he said, “Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
    Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
    And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
    the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
    he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”

    Much love to you and your crew,


  16. So PROUD of you. You are amazing and God continues to reveal more of His character through you and your family. Thank you for following your heart and sharing your journey with us.

  17. Your little fella brings a smile to my heart everytime I see him so I’m sure glad he’s here!!

  18. Gaye Applegate-Hudspeth via Facebook

    Good old fashioned love is great therapy. Peanut had penalty of that in his wonderful family.

  19. That is wonderful news Heidi!!!! God is faithful!!!!!

  20. Michelle Barham Becker via Facebook

    God is so good, Heidi! He planted this year long desire in your heart and he will see you ALL through it!!!

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