This week is spring break around here so most of the kids are out of school. One of the moms of a girl in our scout troop arranged for the girls to go to visit the nursing home where she works, today. Field trip for us, since we are wrapping our last week of school. So we piled up six girls from our troop and headed out early this morning. We had planned to work in their garden, planting flowers but the weather had turned cold and rainy so that was nixed. But one of the activity workers went to the store and got plastic cups, dirt and flower seeds that the residents could plant and put on the window sills. Faith came in holding hands with her partner in crime and best buddy and stole the show. She hugged the neck of every person who crossed her path and was instantly drawn to a sixty year old man named Alvin, who had cerebral palsy! She charmed her way through all the little old ladies and even suckered one out of a pocketful of peppermints! Interestingly enough, the mints were an old brand of mints that my grandmother was notorious for carrying in her own pocket, and I had been looking for about eight years but had been unable to get my hands on! We called them "I love you" mints because they had it inscribed on the wrapper. I was so excited! Faith got to take her turn helping several women fill their little cups with dirt and seeds. She really enjoyed digging in the dirt! Then she sat down with the girls, on the floor and listened to one lady tell about her days as a girl scout in the fourties. Of course, Faith had to show off her sign language skills to the crowd and impress them all. One lady gave her a little paper crown to wear and about three ladies in wheelchairs offered to hold her in their laps! When we got ready to leave we found out that one lady was celebrating her 100th birthday, today, so we had to go sing her happy birthday! On, our way out of town we stopped at McD's for some lunch for the kids. They all decided that they needed ice cream even though it was like 50 degrees outside! One of the moms offered to buy Faith an ice cream but I turned her down because I knew it would be a big mess, but our troop leader got her one anyway....in a cone! I shouldn't have denied her because it was the funniest thing ever! She got into that cone and had the time of her life! She stuck her whole face right into the ice cream! It was in her nose and on her cheeks and chin. She kept sticking her front teeth into it and making that terrible face that you make with an ice cream headache but then she would laugh and do it again. We must have used a tree worth of napkins and wipes. She had so much fun and even though it was a mess to clean up, I had a blast watching her and so did everyone else.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
We are finally wrapping up our first year of homeschooling this month, down to our last two weeks. One of my goals for Faith was for her to be able to recognize the letters A,B and C by the end of the year. We are now working well into letter D, right now! So check that off as a goal surpassed! Our current theme is Dogs. When I start a new letter I always try to begin with a familiar object and of course, Faith loves dogs. So this morning she wakes up and wants me to let our birdbrained dog, Gandy, up on the bed...so I oblige. She starts pointing to different parts of his body like his foot, ear, head, back and I say them out loud....she knows all these parts already. Then she starts pointing to those same parts on her own body....dog eye...Faith's eye.....dog hair...Faith's hair! She was showing me that she made that connection all by herself! I did not instigate it or even try to get her to work on dog body parts! We were just lying on the bed! I am amazed every day at the ways she manages to get her point across! It gives me so much hope and encouragement that I am doing the right thing. That WE are doing the right thing. Father, thank you for each little milestone that you give Faith, I pray that we will use it to glorify you!
Friday, April 15, 2011
For years I have heard therapists, parents and professionals declare the rapid development of children with special needs once they start walking. I heard it but I was less than convinced since I had never seen it with my own two eyes. But over the last few months....yes can you believe it's been almost two months since she took off?....I have witnessed remarkable progress! Faith is changing right before my own eyes, almost overnight! She is trying to talk more, feeding herself (albeit minute amounts), picking up things right and left in the education dept like colors,numbers and letters. Everyday I am astonished at the new things she has discovered! Today we worked on self feeding with some really thick grits (yes friends...we are southern girls....although kinda late in life!) she was scooping that stuff up with the spoon and getting it right to her mouth! Then she discovered that the plate had a ladybug on it that was partially covered up with the grits so she started pushing the food around with her hand to uncover the ladybug! It was soooo cool to see her GET it! Then in the bathtub, today, she was playing with a cup and I saw her trying to rinse her own hair with water! It was crazy! I asked her if she was washing her hair and she said YEAH, just like that! She was even scrubbing her head with her hand! I couldn't believe it! I am so proud of her, I wish there were words enough to describe my joy! I guess there is something to all that developmental milestone stuff they told me about......He he he.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Something I struggle with daily, now. There is no one to share all the things that happen in Faith's life that can only be shared between her parents and understood. I can tell people about those things but no one really understands. My soul aches to be able to share all her accomplishments but it just isn't possible anymore. At night, when Faith goes to bed, that's the hardest time. I try to keep busy but it's hard. I keep trying to understand things, but I don't think there is any sense to make out of this mess.
But during the days, when Faith and I are together, that is the time when I am happy. We fill our days with lots of work but a tremendous amount of quality time together and THAT is what gets me through. Sometimes we sit on the swing and blow bubbles or take a trip to the dollar store to push the shopping cart around. Some days we will read the same book ten times and other days we will wander around the petsmart to explore all the animals. Filling our lives with good memories and simple pleasures like a walk down the dirt road is how I have been able to survive. Like today, a two dollar goldfish named Spot and a bowl....seeing her explore this new part of her world...helping to make up his bowl....sitting at the counter and watching the fish swim while we talked about it....that's a good day. Seeing her GET the color Red...as in Clifford, the big red dog, while she was working on coloring her own paper...making that connection....that's a good day for me! That is when I feel filled up and fulfilled...when I can see her developing and grasping concepts that people take for granted and said she never would get. I know that God uses these moments to teach me to be grateful and hopeful and to encourage me in the midst of overwhelming grief.
One of my favorite verses when I was pregnant with Faith keeps me going even now...
"Every good and perfect gift is from Above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows." James 1:17
And now also...
"In Him we were also chosen, having been PREDESTINED according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will...". Ephesians 1:11
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Every week we go up to the library at least once. In our town, everything is all in one place. The town hall, police station, water dept and library are all in one little building. The library is one of Faith's favorite places on Earth. When we start heading down the street past the fire dept. she starts laughing and screaming and pointing towards the building! When we get there she makes her grand entrance, calling out to all her friends who work there. Our librarians know it's her before she even rounds the corner and they always are there to greet her with hugs and handshakes. Today, we went in to print out some dog work pages for school. She sat in one of the wing chairs and played with her iPad until she wore out the battery then she was off to investigate. Her usual routine involves sneaking around the front desk to see the librarians and be nosey. Mrs. Diane always has some stickers for her and Mr. Tony is always busy putting away books, a perfect opportunity to play hide and seek by following him up and down the aisles, all three of them! When we get done she has to go over to the town hall side and see all her friends ther, most of whom have kids in Faith's girl scout troop. They come out and hug her and fawn over her and make her feel special. She hugs everyone and loves to pat the mayor's little dog, when he is there. It has become one of my favorite parts of our week too, seeing how people have not only welcomed Faith but drawn her into the community. She is almost a superstar, people who I don't even know by name, all know her and speak to her and say what a miracle she is. Sometimes after someone stops to talk to her, I am left wondering who that was, who knows my daughter so well! It holds a very special place in both our hearts.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Today was a beautiful day...warm, sunny with a little breeze. We went to church at the new church...Blue Grass Sunday..yes! After church, I decided to spoil myself with a treat that I never had...a manicure and pedicure! I got a sassy coral color but I have come to the conclusion that....believe it or not....I have a very hard time relaxing! Surely not! When we got back home Faith and I went out in the yard and laid in the hammock for like a whole hour! Just doing nothing! I took my phone and sunglasses and we just laid there and Faith played with my glasses and pretended to call Grandma on the phone. I looked up at the beautiful trees and listened to the wind...trying to keep my head above the sadness and loneliness. Then my dad came over for a while...we sat outside and told stories about when I was a kid or he was a kid or funny stories about my grandmother. I started laughing about this funny story involving me and my grandmother and could not stop! It felt so good to laugh and have some good memories for a change. Faith sat between us in the swing and listened and would laugh like she knew exactly what we were talking about..sometimes slapping her knees like it was the funniest thing ever! Then we took her walking around the yard and played a game of find grandpa and tickle him. She was trying so hard to run and catch him, chasing him around the van. It was so cute! It felt good for us to be happy......at least for a little while.