Monday, December 6, 2010

Fragile

Oh yeah, there's a chip in the windshield too.
The Gallagher Express has pulled into Calamity Station.  Hopefully the stop-over won't be very long.  We have now amassed quite a list of items that are in need of repair. My sister-in-law Amy can attest that this is a necessary, though unwelcome, part of every deployment; at least one or ten things must break, quit working, or act in a generally unruly manner.  That's how you know you're in charge of EVERYTHING.....when you have to be in charge of getting EVERYTHING fixed.  A list of all things in some state of disrepair to date: one car door would not shut, one utility door off its track, one pressure cooker stopped pressurizing, two gates ceased to be useful in actually enclosing the backyard, every one of my fingernails split, one Honda Pilot Rear Entertainment System refused my daughter's pay-per-view payment option (coins fit rather easily into the DVD slot unfortunately), and one desk cabinet door split under the pressure of Sweet Girl's force field of motion.  And a partridge in a pear tree.  Seriously?  Does everything have to break at once?

These are all great annoyances, but they can all be fixed.  And thanks to Papa and the landlord, several of them already are. But I do have my moments when I like to feel sorry for myself. *cue the pity party decorations and have the WAHmbulance on stand-by* In the midst of one of those funks, I started thinking about what else can break around here.  Conclusion:  there's a lot around here yet to break.  Thank you, Lord, that so far there aren't any physical injuries on the list (knock on wood etc).  However, the two perpetual motion machines under this roof are bound to strike again.  And the DDT triple threat of duct tape, bailing wire, and WD-40 will be back out.  Because everything breaks.   

Everything breaks.  And the hardest things to fix are the intangibles.  Dreams that we have for ourselves, and others, shatter.  Hearts break in so many pieces for so many different reasons.  Hopes that we hold close or yell from the rooftops are dashed.  Sometimes those doing the hope-dashing are strangers or acquaintances, but usually it's those we love the most.  And that makes a heart break again.  Unshakable faith is questioned.  People grow apart; easily.  Promises are broken as readily as they are made.  Relationships end and take a piece of us that we thought was all our own.  Everything breaks. It's just that some things are harder to fix than others. 

Sweet Girl was not yet two years old when she received her formal diagnosis.  At the meeting with the developmental pediatrician, I teared up when he told me what I already knew: Sweet Girl has autism.  I had told him our story.  I told him how Sweet Girl had slowly but surely drifted away from us until it was obvious she was no longer comfortable in her own skin.  I told him how her happy moments were fewer and farther between as she had gotten older.  I told him about her not sleeping.  I told him that she didn't use many words anymore.  I told him that I would sometimes have to hold her hard against me - so I hard I thought something might break - to get her to calm down during the times she got upset.  I told him everything that had gotten us to that day.  And all through that, I managed not to lose my composure. And then he looked at Sweet Girl and told me I was right. He told me what I already knew and I broke down.  He asked me why it upset me to hear that when it was clear I already knew what he was going to say.  I couldn't manage an answer but just grabbed Sean's hand and watched Sweet Girl pick up office supplies on the pediatrician's desk.  The reason I cried at the truth: his words made me break.  Sweet Girl's life was now officially harder than I wanted it to be for her.  Whatever tiny part of me was holding on the idea that things would magically get better for this beautiful girl, finally let go.  Something there was broken, not Sweet Girl's heart or spirit, but whatever it is that enables her to be present had malfunctioned.  Something invisible had a hold on my daughter that I couldn't stop.  Everything breaks.  And I wasn't sure I could fix this.

And I still don't know. This is not something duct tape, bailing wire, and WD-40 can fix.  (Though on the millionth time through her singing recitations of Wonder Pets, the duct tape does comes to mind.)  But I do know that about a year and a half later, Sweet Girl is happy.  If she achieves nothing else, I will be grateful that she is now very comfortable in her own skin.  She has done therapies, a special diet, supplements, and now school during that time.  They were not always good, but they've goten progressively better.  Now her happy moments far outnumber the unhappy.  She can communicate basic needs and wants.  She introduced herself to the dog today.  That was awesome and a wee bit funny.  She has a sense of self and has shown sympathy and empathy to others.  She is becoming social.  She is not like her neurotypical peers, so I know to many people she seems broken.  But I know where she started.  I know how much damage she (and the good Lord) have repaired.  She's a work in progress.  Honestly, who isn't?  Sweet Girl has come such a long way even though she still has a long way to go. But I have faith that Sweet Girl can emerge from whatever is left of the thing that had a such tight grip on her in that pediatrician's office.  I have faith in that because everything breaks.

8 comments:

  1. I love you.... reading this makes my heart swell up with hope and love. Your a great Mommy and Sweet Girl & Little Man are so lucky to have you. <3<3<3

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  2. My first reaction was to type "I love you" too :) I really do! Thanks for sharing your perspective.

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  3. That little girl has so much spirit and personality it just leaks out of her pores. (Frequently at volumes that vex her mother.) I love, love, love the image of her introducing herself to your poor puppy.

    It's hard to articulate how much I appreciate the work her mama has put into making it possible for Sweet Girl's spirit to shine at a wavelength that the rest of us can see.

    Love you all.

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  4. Once again my eyes are leaking after reading your blog. I agree with everything everyone else has said. You're so right...that "thing" that had such a tight hold on Sweet Girl is breaking and she is progressing wonderfully thanks to her ever vigilant mother. I love you all very much.

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  5. Proud just isn't strong enough for how I feel about you, my daughter. You saw something in Sweet Girl that no one else saw or would admit and you perservered through it all and are still doing just that. Those broken tangible things are just small bumps in the road, but this mountain you are climbing with Sweet Girl will test you, your faith, God's love, and Sweet Girl's will, but I know you and you will all come out stronger, wiser and happier because of what you have started and continue everyday. I love you. Mom

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  6. Steam us up and dip us in garlic butter. We're lobsters. (It's as if someone is paying us to mention each other in our blogs). And the next time something breaks around here, I'm bringing it to you to fix. You do a fabulous job of fixing what is broken.

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  7. oh sara, your blog twists my heart.. i'm so proud of you and all you are doing.. and breaking of things brings back lots of memories too.. stay strong sweetie. lots of people are praying for you and your family, and keep looking up.. you are doing an awsome job! hugs, Sherri

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  8. Lovely: "But I do know that about a year and a half later, Sweet Girl is happy. If she achieves nothing else, I will be grateful that she is now very comfortable in her own skin."

    I decided long ago that happy was what mattered most for my oldest. :) If we can raise our children to be happy, comfortable in their own skin, as you wrote, then we have done well for them.

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