Marie Kennedy author of My Perfect Son has Cerebral Palsy AuthorHouse 1999. Marie is a wife, mother, motivational speaker, event planner, and freelance writer. She is published in numerous online special needs and parenting magazines and has been a guest speaker at schools associated with a program "Everybody Counts." She has also been a speaker at hospitals, child advocacy conventions, and Universities, providing the human side of Cerebral Palsy to therapy and medical students.
Marie is published in "Chicken Soup for the Mothers Soul 2", Jimmy's New Shoes. Also published in "But... You Know what I mean" An editors point of view by Robert Fulton JR. PhD, Palmland Publishing, Pineland, Florida. Marie's segment is "A passion for writing" giving her views on writing non-fiction.
Featured in "Woman's World Magazine" February 19, 2001 issue, The boy who was born happy. The Kennedy family was taped for a regional PBS show. "Across Indiana" in May of 2000, WFYI channel 20. For more information refer to show number 1028, WFYI web site. Featured on local CBS Ch 8 news with Leslie Olsen -Education WISHTV June 2002.
Marie wrote two stories for The Spirit and Place Festival 2007. Her stories were told with Art from the perspective of Anderson University Art students giving a "peek inside" her experience with her son Jimmy and cerebral palsy, Titles, "His Hand on My Shoulder" and "Inside Out" They were on display at the Indianapolis Art Center during the Spirit and Place Festival and were shown April 29 through mid May at the Anderson University Art Gallery.
Marie wrote a song and her husband Chooch Kennedy arranged the music and recorded it.
Absolutely - Positively -Completely
© Lyrics- Marie Kennedy,Tom Dane
Music- Chooch Kennedy -Vocals and harmonica, Pat Harshbarger - Guitar
Marie and her husband Chooch Kennedy are very proud to be Jimmy's parents and are excited to see what he will accomplish next.
Marie is currently working on song lyrics for her husband to sing and continues to participate in online parenting groups, special needs Mom's writing groups and advocate to focus on " Ability"
Jimmy's New Shoes
It is September 28th, two days before our sons 5th birthday. His name is Jimmy, and he has a smile that lights up a room, sky blue eyes and curly hair. My husband, Chooch (Jim) and I are taking him to buy a new pair of high top tennis shoes. We arrive at the store and look up and down the display of shoes. Dad finds a pair with the colors of Jimmy's favorite basketball team. He shows them to him and his eyes light up, "Lets try these, OK , Mother ?" I look and find the style in his size and he sits down on a nearby stool. I have a lump in my throat as I take off the shoes he has on. I then remove the braces he has worn since his diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy at 16 mo old. His therapist had recently talked to his specialist who agreed our pride and joy was doing so well, that we could try a pair of shoes without braces a few days a week. Jimmy was so excited to pick the pair he wanted. We are usually very limited in the selection that will fit over his braces.
I bend down and adjust his socks and slip on the shoes. I lace them up and just as I finish the second bow, Jimmy jumps down and looks at himself in the mirror. He has his hands on his hips, like Superman. We are all three excited and I ask Jimmy to try and walk around and see how they feel. He takes a few steps and turns to see if we are watching. "Go on Honey" I tell him, "you're doing great". I am holding Chooch's hand and we both squeeze as we watch him walk faster and then almost run in his new shoes.
He has been walking at home without shoes or braces for months, but, has had limited endurance. I am watching him march now with a great big smile on his face. I look at Chooch and ask "How much are they?" We both laugh. "Who cares?" He answered, "Jimmy is getting these shoes." I put his old shoes in the box and we pay for them.
He thanks us as we walk to the car. He is riding up front with Dad, clicking his feet and admiring his new shoes. I am quietly sitting in the back, thinking of all we have been through, especially our son , to get to this point. Jimmy is humming as we go inside the house. He wants to call everyone and tell them about his new shoes. I suggested we call just a few people and surprise the rest at his Birthday party. We have a large family that love and support Jimmy each step of the way. We make our calls and go through our nightly routine of warm bath, lotion massage, and a few stretches. I put his night braces on and kiss him good night. He again thanks me, saying, "Thank you for my new shoes. I love them, can I wear them to school tomorrow ?" I assured him that he could. He fell fast asleep with his shoes right next to him on the bed.
As happy as I was, I was a little worried he wouldn't want to wear his braces again. The next morning, as I helped him dress for school, I talked to him about it. I explained he could only wear his new shoes a few days a week. He said "My braces are cool Mom, I can wear them too. I bet Miss Cindy (his bus driver) will say Oh my gosh I can't believe it!" When the bus came and Cindy opened the door Jimmy held onto the rail and walked up the four steps. He stopped at the top and said , "Look! Look at my new shoes! and no braces!" Miss Cindy said, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe it." He turned to me and smiled. He got into his seat and blew me a kiss and gave me the thumbs up sign, like he always does. I went back into the house thinking about how his teachers and friends would react, and wishing I could see and hear everything. The few hours he was gone I paced and wrote in my journal. I prepared snacks for his school party the next day. Chooch was decorating the house, the yard and the mail box for our big party the next night. I went outside to wait for the bus 15 minutes early. It was a beautiful day and I could hardly wait for him to come home. I feel this way every day he goes to school, but, today when the bus turned the corner, I wanted to run down the street and meet him.
The bus pulled up and he still had that big smile on his face. He blew everyone kisses bye. We held hands and walked across the street into the driveway. He then stopped and said, "Mother this was my happiest day ever." As tears welled up in my eyes I bent down to hug him and he wrapped his arms around my neck and he said, "I know, me too." We both cried as we hugged each other and seconds later laughed together. He told me how his friends liked his shoes and his teacher, Miss Susan, screamed when she saw them. I have a feeling she cried a little too.
Birthdays are always special, but this one is dear to my heart. I could have popped with pride looking at the smiles of Jimmy's grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, watching him do some of the things we all hoped for but were a little afraid to believe he could ever do.
He still wears his night braces and day braces without a fuss. I let him pick the days he wants to wear his new shoes. Jimmy is my joy, my strength, and the best of me. He verifies my belief in miracles and the power of love daily.
Jimmy playing golf!
Letting go....(See you at 3:00)
Sun is hot and we play all day
Fun started at the end of May
Planting a garden and watching it grow
Laying in the grass with the bugs aglow
Sleeping late and picnics for lunch
Hugs from my son, he loves me a bunch
Look Mother, a picture I painted for you
with orange flowers, green grass and sky of blue.
Oh wait, I must add a rainbow too!
I watch him paint his, eye brow up and tongue sticking out
"Helps me concentrate", he says with a smile and never a pout.
Starting all day school , I smile how can that be?
It seems just yesterday he was three.
He started school then, just a few hours a day
We miss him anytime he is away
The past three years he attended a special class
He wasn't always able to walk in the grass
He wears braces on his legs and he runs kind of slow
Will the other children be kind? I need to know.
This time he leaves early, won't be back until 3:00
I feel like a baby, now it's me not we.
That first day Dad will be there too
He always knows just what to do.
Our son is eager to go and meet new friends
I want him to grow and to learn and to blend
I worry a little as each mother would
I want to go with him, and that's no good
The time has come for letting go
He is ready, this I know.
This year he will attend regular class
20 children his age, he will have a blast
Also ready to ride the Big Bus
Eating lunch at school, not with us.
I don't want him to see the fear in my eyes
The ache in my heart and tremble inside
It's too late he already knows.
He hugs me tight before he goes
"Don't worry Mom, I'm a tough little guy"
The time has come to say good-bye
"I know" I say and hug him tight
"Don't worry about me, I'm alright"
Oh the tears I fight
New friends say hello as he sits in his seat.
A big-boy world he is ready to meet
warm hands on my shoulders to comfort me
"We love you honey, see you at 3:00"