Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dear Clara, (a brag letter to my girl at age 4.5 years)

Dear Clara,

In the last few weeks we have seen a burst in your development. It is the coolest thing to watch and we are so proud of you. I have teared up multiple times in the last month (I know what you're thinking, shocker, mom, because you cry at everything.)

To some these milestones might appear insignificant, and definitely not noteworthy, but for you, a child whose brain requires a higher demand of training and consistency to grasp a skill or concept, well, you better believe we have pen and paper in hand, sweet one.

First up?

You are showing courage and bravery and taking new risks. We visited a local farm a few weekends ago, and while you put up a fight to get on the pony, once you relaxed you rode like a champ. I knew you would love it if I could just calm you and hug you tight enough until the ponies started to move. Deep pressure is so important in calming you and helping you feel safe. It is a good thing I had sunglasses on, Clara, because I would have embarrassed you had I not. Eyes were watering as I walked you around and around and around. As your mom, I don't expect you to enjoy typical kid activities and I am prepared for this reality in the everyday aspects of life, but when you do? Cue the waterworks.

You are starting to show affection to family members in new and adorable ways. A few weeks ago we were driving home from your cousin's birthday party in Galveston. Camille was zonked and you leaned over to grab her foot and held on to that foot for a solid fifteen minutes. Melt my heart, Clara. It's as if this was your way of telling her, "I love you, sister, and I want to be near you."

Another thing that gets me? When we are driving and I wave to you in the rearview mirror and you point to my hand. You better believe I will always twist and turn in whatever way is needed to reach behind my seat and hold your hand. I have dreamed about this day and I will savor every single second of hand holding.

Not only are you showing bravery and affection, you are working so hard to meet your school goals. We spent time at your school last week, as you know, and I was impressed with how much focus and attention you were giving to using a spoon, a goal that has been on your treatment plan for a long, long time.

And I love watching you interact with Camille. Camille loves helping you use your PECS, and she is ready and willing to help you at home, too. She loves you to the moon and back, and so do I.

Your PECS is starting to translate over functionally at home, which is the absolute best! You brought me a picture of a banana last week, the first time you have EVER pulled a food card, and I about lost my mind! And today? Your pretzel card. I love that you now have a system, a voice, to help me know what you need or want.

Though some might only see your differences and feel a sense of pity, please don't for a second think any less of yourself. Their loss. You are a beautiful creation and what these same people don't see is the behind the scenes of our world.

The laughter. The beauty. The immense joy that radiates from your face. This is the good stuff, Clara. The stuff that truly matters. Worth is not measured by your ability to learn your A-B-C's or 1-2-3's or go to a typical school or attend a typical college or hold a typical job. There are many who achieve all of that but lack love and happiness and fruits of the spirit. I'll take joy over achievement any day, sweet girl.

Clara, you are one of God's best gifts to us. Keep being you. Keep shining your light. The world is so much brighter with you in it.


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Annual CT Vacation 2016. . . Part 2

Click here for Part 1 of our annual trip to New England.

 And picking back up where we left off . . . Playing/snuggling at home. . .

Give Clara a piano and she is content for hours . . .

On our last final day, we spent time walking around Collinsville and ate lunch at our all time favorite local spot, La Salle's Market & Deli. If you are ever in this area, you must stop at La Salle's!

After our time in Collinsville, we stopped by a park to play . . . 

Isn't this house just the cutest? Had to stop and snap a picture . . . 

And that's a wrap. CT, we love you! See you next October . . .
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