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Friday, January 4, 2013

My heart is full

There are so many times that being a Mother has made me feel the passage of time.  At first it's subtle with little things changing that had me saying Oh, right....she's growing up.  I remember conversations with my friends and we all felt like once we adjusted to whatever the current phase our child was in another one would come along to keep us on our toes.

Julia on Christmas with her Nook and headphones!

For me, it started when Julia was little.  One day we went out and she was content playing with the hanging toys on her baby carrier seat and the next day she demanded more entertainment, different toys she could play with while running errands or going about general life with Mommy.  Then it was the transition from a bottle to a sippy cup quickly followed by no longer having to tote around baby food because she could eat regular food.  It seemed like in no time at all she went from eating bits off our plate to ordering her own meal at a restaurant.  Then there was the huge struggle to contain her - she wanted no parts of a car seat or a stroller and was set on exploring the world.  It all happened fairly quickly and in the first couple of years, right on the schedule most of the books publish.  

Time continues to be marked for me by the little changes that add up to large changes when summed up over a year.  The amount a little girl can change in just one short year still takes my breath away.  Our routines continue to change - for example, she reads books to me at bedtime just as often as I read to her now! - and I'm still caught off guard by it seven years later.  I've found that I love all the changes and the growing and never tire of watching it unfold before my eyes and feel so wonderfully blessed that I get to experience life with Julia.

The passage of time with Emma is different.  She doesn't follow a schedule or change on a dime.  I vividly remember the first time we had to start moving items around on restaurant tables so she wouldn't knock them to the floor.  She was about two and we were eating at a restaurant on Main Street in our old town.  I was holding her on my lap because the umbrella stroller we had with us was much too low for the table and she was unable to sit in a high chair and once we were settled she immediately grabbed the place mats and silverware and tossed them on the floor.  Chris and I looked at each other and laughed, thrilled and still staring in wonder that this milestone finally approached.  Yes, it was much later than Julia but it felt so, so sweet to experience.

There have been other milestones that have hit us out of the blue.  Emma passed through the I really don't want to get in my car seat phase that is unpleasant for those of us required by law to buckle her in and she is fully in the throes of the "I feed myself" phase which makes for some messy meals considering she can't physically do it herself.  She currently demands entertainment while waiting - those that have seen us during our wait times will know that I'm no stranger to tap dancing around and generally make a fool of myself but after 20 minutes it gets old for me (if not for Emma) and I'm oh so glad to pull that little iPad gadget from her backpack!

Emma today waiting on her doc.
Today Emma achieved another milestone and this one took my breath away.  We were waiting in the surgeon's office for a consult on her upcoming surgery and I was playing with her to pass the time.  She was in such a happy mood and I decided she was so cute I needed to kiss her or blow a raspberry on her cheek or something.  She was in her wheelchair with her body facing me and her head looking at Chris and I put my lips together and made the "kiss" sound to alert her that I was going to slowly...slowly...slowly lean into her and plant one on her cheek.  She looked at me and then leaned into me for her kiss.  She leaned into me for her kiss.  And so we played this little game again.  Then she decided she wanted to play along and opened her mouth real wide (her version of a kiss) and leaned into me and placed her open mouth on my cheek.  She kissed me not once or twice but several times laughing each time.  Chris was with me and looked on and commented "That is so cute."  And it was.  It made my heart leap with joy for in that moment my little girl - who knows so much but is trapped in a body that doesn't let her show us just how much she knows - found a way to show me that she knows that game and she not only wanted to play it but she wanted to be in charge of it for a bit.

The passage of time continues.  Milestones happen in the blink of an eye or not.  Either way, I find them so very sweet.

2 Comments from readers:

Anonymous said...

How wonderful for Emma. She is growing up, and finally learning to do the things we have have been practicingwith her for such a long time.

Julia also looks cute with her ear phones.

Nick Jacks said...

Kristina,

I came to your blog this morning via “Love That Max.” I am the father of an 11-year-old boy with CP and my intention here is to start a “co-blog” with him in an effort enrich his abilities to express and document his feelings. Virtually all of the blogs I’ve read these past few days (dozens) have been written by the mothers of special needs children… and, of course, they tug at the heartstrings for all the right reasons. But where are the fathers? Surely I’m not blazing new trails here? Anyway, Julia and Emma seem precious and the photos you’ve included on your blog make all the difference in the world. Before I go, I’d like to recommend the survival guide section of Cerebral Palsy Family Network website as a great resource. CP Family hosts the guide, but it’s got useful resources for families living with any type of special needs. We’ve found camps, movement specialists, athletic programs and all kinds of stuff. Perhaps you can find it helpful as well. Thanks. I’ll keep checking in.
Nick