In EXPECT A MIRACLE: A Mother’s Tale of Brotherly Love, Faith, and the Race that Changed a Family’s Life, Jenny Long (w/ Bob Der) chronicles her life and the lives of her sons, bringing readers the backstory that leads to the cover picture.
Two years later, Jenny’s second son, Cayden, was born with spastic cerebral palsy. Undaunted by the doctor’s recommendation to place her disabled son in an assisted living facility, she made the courageous decision to raise him at home. Similarly unfazed by Cayden’s disability, older brother Conner developed a loving relationship with Cayden, engaging and respecting him with a grace and determination that belied his young age. At age 7, Conner, determined to share his love of athletics with Cayden, entered the Nashville Kids Triathlon, pushing and pulling Cayden every step of the course. The two brothers crossed the finish line together, and their thrilling and emotional race captured the hearts of millions and earned both boys Sports Illustrated Kids‘s SportsKids of the Year award.
EXPECT A MIRACLE is the inspirational story of Jenny’s life and how she raised two extraordinary boys against all odds – brothers whose love and determination affirmed Jenny’s deeply held faith that everyone, no matter their challenges, can find their miracle. (From Amazon)
Heartwarming, inspiring, and all those other clichéd terms may be over used, but still apply to EXPECT A MIRACLE; as does children having so much to teach us and seeing the world through the eyes of a child. Each chapter begins with Connor or Connor and Cayden, then moves on to Jenny’s past working up to present day. When so many play the blame game Jenny takes responsibility for her actions. In the end it all comes down to you. You can play the continual victim or you can strive for more.
Parents expect/hope their children will love and protect one another, barring the typical sibling rivalry. When you have a special needs child there can also be resentment for all the attention and extra care they require, along with guilt for feeling that way. It’s not easy from any standpoint and I sincerely hope Connor and Cayden’s relationship continues without that.
As for the ending, was it simply another statistic or did personality differences play as large a role as the demands of the situation? While not unexpected I’d been optimistic for another outcome.
Memoirs aren’t a typical read for me but EXPECT A MIRACLE was easy to read. It goes a little deeper than skimming the surface but doesn’t get down to the nitty gritty. That being said, whether you’re crying for a young girl who loses her mother and is taken from the only family she knows, or at the beauty, fierce love, and determination of a young boy, you aren’t likely to be unmoved by Jenny, Jeff, and the Long brothers.