Every week I load up the car and drive Ellis nearly 45 minutes to her Physical and Occupational therapy appointment. I’ve made this same drive, every week, since she was three months old. To be honest it’s not anything I want to do. Most Mom’s would much rather be at home doing something else with their baby, anything else. But this is our life, and I’ll do anything in the world to help my daughter’s recovery.
Progress, has been slow. Don’t get me wrong, she is growing, developing, progressing and moving forward-but it has been a process. A hard, trying, emotional, grueling process. What a typically developing baby will grasp on their own will take Ellis months and months to officially master.
Some things just come, but most have to be learned. Skills need to be repeated over and over and over again until her body and brain are trained on how it all works.
Which is why every week, we are willing to make the drive.
The pattern with Ellis has been long stretches of time where things stay pretty stable. Not a lot is changing but she’s steadily moving along. This period of time is exhausting, frustrating and draining. Progress is not coming nearly fast enough for this Mama.
Then there are times of growth where in a few weeks period she starts doing all kinds of new things at once. This period of time is exciting, exhilarating, relieving. It makes every tear that was shed seem like none were in vain.
I feel like we run, so hard to get to the growth, the growth are the moments we live for. Yet without those hours, days, weeks of preparation in the valley, so to speak, we would never have the mountaintop moments.
We recently got to experience such a moment.
Every week at therapy there is the sweetest little girl that stops by on the way to her own session.
“Say Hi to baby Ellis” her therapist will tell her.
She toddles over to where we are and coo’s at Ellis, all while taking her adorable little hands and waving at the “baby”.
This has gone on and on for months, she stopping by to say Hi, Ellis largely ignoring her.
Until this week that is.
The door swung open and the little girl came our way. I prepared for our typical interaction…
“Say Hi to your friend Ellis” they instructed her.
The little girl waved. Ellis looked right at her…..and waved back.
Wait, what just happened? You see, my gorgeous 2 ½ year old daughter, had never waved at someone before. This was her very first time. At first, I was so taken aback I thought it was a bit of a fluke. So we tried again.
“Ellis, wave at your friend” Her therapist said.
And again, Ellis picked up her chubby little hand and waved Hello.
We tried one more time for good measure, same result.
Slowly I felt my throat start to close as emotion overtook me. I blinked furiously to hold back tears, only to look at her therapists and see them doing the same.
This was a mountain top moment.
I couldn’t tell you when Milo first waved. You know why? Because it wasn’t a big deal to me. It was just something he picked up on at some point and did on his own. I didn’t celebrate or rejoice, because to me it was a typical thing for a baby to do.
Not so with my girl. We were told she would accomplish none of it. So a wave and intentional interaction with another kiddo is huge. So is the massive amount of standing she has done lately. So are the steps she’s consistently taking in her walker.
Little to some, huge to us.
Our life is full of so much difficult and even more hard. But our ruins are glorious in more ways than I could ever imagine.
Lest anyone think I’m a saint I will admit if given the choice of an easier path I would’ve taken it. No one enjoys suffering, myself included. Yet there are so many gifts walking the difficult road has given us. In this instance, it is the value and deep appreciation for the little things. Not taking them for granted. Celebrating every victory.
Don’t sweat the small stuff they say? I say what small things can you be grateful for and rejoice in today. The small makes the big even bigger.
I look back on my life and I don’t remember the things that came easily. But I do remember the hard fought battles. They were worth fighting for every single time. Something was created within during those moments-and I was never the same again.
Although the valley moments are trying, so much of me wouldn’t trade them for the world. Because that feeling inside, when she gets it, and she tears down another wall they never said she could scale?
It makes every bit of it worth it.
Yes the big moments are wonderful, but these little ones...I’m finding they’re pretty incredible as well.
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