Monday, October 3, 2011

Smiles to Go

Today, Abigail decided to be a monkey. She was repeating everything I said, which is such a joy to hear! On the way to school today, she was even "singing" with me in the van. When she woke up and I said "hello there, Sunny" to her, she opened her beautiful, bright, brown eyes, looked into mine, and gave me a smile to melt my heart. Since she loves music therapy so much, and her therapist uses a guitar, Daddy set her up on guitar hero last night. She had a blast! I think she wants a guitar for Christmas!

So, to continue our story, why was Abigail sent to us? Why was this happening "to us"? What would we say to people? How would we explain this to the kids? What type of prejudice would she have to endure? Would she ever walk and talk; ride a bike; go to school?

These are the kinds of questions that ran through my brain. Today I look back at those thoughts and cringe. How small my faith felt at that time. How unworthy and forgotten and, yes, betrayed I felt.

As the weeks went on, and I fell more and more in love with our daughter, I came to resent my preoccupation with my fears about what people would think or say. I began to resent myself. Now there's an odd feeling. I had to accept that this was the way Abigail was, and would always be. A bitter pill of truth.

I think that just about any parent with a child that has been diagnosed with a disability would be able to relate to this. At the very moment that your child is given a diagnosis (especially if it wasn't anticipated), your life is unalterably changed. There are no do-overs, no 'fixes', no negotiations, and no going back. What you do with this realization, and how you respond, that will set the tone for the life of your child.

That, my friends, is a daunting responsibility.

To act, no react; to try and look into the future and view the best course, when you've suddenly been set on a trail with no map; to select a best course of action without understanding the rules; to edit a script without knowing the full story.....

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