Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Story of Floppy Cat, and a Personal Reflection

I was asked to read and review a book written by Kari Kay which is titled Floppy Cat. I was told:

I am writing to touch base with you about a new book that I think would be great content for your blog. Floppy Cat is a new children's book by author Kari Kay based on a real cat born with a lack of balance control. Floppy Cat wonders what it would be like to play normally like the other animals, but as the story progresses, he learns to accept himself for his own special gifts and to always maintain a positive attitude. This unique book is a great way for parents to teach children the value of self-confidence and acceptance.

Hmmm, I'm always a little leery with any comparison of animals and children. But after viewing the website and viewing the video of the real life Floppy Cat I became intrigued and agreed to read it.

What I wasn't prepared for was how much I would love this book. The drawings are adorable but what really struck me was the forward to the book and the story itself. The forward reads:

Thanks to those who saw the Floppy Cat in me.

Floppy cat taught me so many life lessons. The most important of which, is that we all deal with challenges. We can choose to run from those challenges and play it safe, or we can boldly step into them to learn and grow. Floppy lived his life with a positive, never give up attitude, always looking for the good in every situation. My hope is that after reading this book, you and your child will find the Floppy Cat inside of you!

Kari Kay

That alone sums up my journey with Sam. Sam has many challenges and I often refer to the fact that at any point he or I, or both of us, could have chosen to curl up in a little ball, to believe the prognosis we were given, to give up and let life pass us by. But instead we embrace each and every day, learning and growing, looking for the good in every situation and never ever giving up. I am happy to say that we have found the Floppy Cat in us.

As I read through the story I couldn't help but pick out words and phrases that I could relate to Sam and our journey together:

---always be seen with a smile on his face (that's my Sam)

---his own special gift (I view Sam's diagnosis as this)

---all cats are unique in their own special way (Sam isn't disabled or handicapped, he's unique)

---always moved forward and was willing to learn (our daily goal)

Life and raising a child with special needs is really all about perspective. We can choose to get caught up in the labels and the challenges associated with those labels....or....we can move past all that. We can see our child as unique, not disabled, not handicapped but instead themselves. Sam is Sam, perfectly unique with an array of strengths and weaknesses...really just like you and me....just different strengths and weaknesses.

In the story, Floppy Cat locates a hat with a very special message inside which inspires him to go even further on his journey.

My absolute favorite line:

I can be whatever I want to be, as long as I always believe in me!

Isn't that really what we want to convey to all of our children?? When I think about my life with Sam...I began with a lot of doubts and worry, did God pick the right parent, can I do everything Sam is going to need me to do, can I see past Sam's diagnosis and love and enjoy the little boy that he is. I had to believe in me and my abilities so that I could then believe in Sam and help him to believe in himself.

This is a wonderful book about overcoming obstacles, believing in yourself which in turn will help you to reach your dreams. I highly recommend this book for any parent who is trying to explain to their child that they are not different, but instead, they are unique. Their challenges do not define who they are or what they will be but instead it is how they view themselves and how they overcome those challenges that will make them the person they will become.

If you are interested in getting your own copy of Floppy Cat, go to Kari's website and you can purchase it for $12.71. But most of all...find the Floppy Cat in you!

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