We have been with Abigail’s physical therapist, Hallie, for over 18 months now. She loves Abigail and we love her! But last week she said something profound that made me take a step back. Abigail has gotten her ‘yeah’s and ‘nah’s down very well! Today, Hallie was working with her and everything was ‘yeah’ until Hallie asked Abigail to do some hard work. Then Abigail responded with a clear ‘nah.’ She can be a bit sassy at times. Hallie still tried to make her walk with her walker, but Abigail just wanted to pick it up and play with it. Hallie was thinking about how to get Abigail to stop and focus on working when she took a step back.
She told me, “Look how much we have put this girl through these last three months. In just a few short weeks Abigail has received leg braces, a stander, and a wheelchair. She has started horse therapy. She started taking steps. She is communicating more than ever. And that doesn’t even include all the work she is doing for occupational therapy. We are all so excited about her progress that we keep pushing her to do more and more. But Hallie asked, “why don’t we take a step back and let her soak in all she has learned instead of pushing her to do even more?”
We love seeing Abigail doing new things. We love challenging her and teaching her new tricks. We love stretching her to see what all she is capable of, but Abigail is not capable of saying ‘stop’. She cannot tell us to slow down. So we decided as a team to let Abigail have this month of July to breathe a little. Instead of introducing anything new we will simply work on the skills we are already working on. We want to give Abigail a firm foundation before we continually place new challenges and goals on her. In all our excitement for new and getting to the next step, we forget to slow down and let her catch up.
I am so glad Abigail’s therapists can come to me and we can work through these things as a team. I love having a team! Without Hallie’s step back, we would all have missed an important piece of the puzzle. The enjoyment stage. Taking the time to enjoy all the accomplishments and victories Abigail has won these last few weeks. We all forgot for a little bit that it is okay to sit back and rest. It is okay to sit back and take in all that has happened. It is okay to build a strong foundation. It is okay to enjoy the journey. And I am thankful I get to enjoy my daughter’s journey, for it is quite amazing to see where she has come lately!
We got braces simply for her to bear weight through her legs and hips. Next things we knew Abigail is up and taking steps. We got a wheelchair for her to go to school. Little did we know that she would be learning to push it herself the day after we got it. Abigail’s legs and arms are getting so much stronger! She is trying so hard to get on all fours and crawl. She is communicating so much better, and picks up on things instantly. She is so smart, and completely understands what you are saying even if she cannot fully respond. She is sassy, and ‘runs’ away from you now. She thinks she is hilarious and will joke with you. She cries when she does not get her way, and she loves to be the center of attention. In so many ways she is a typical toddler, and I am so glad!
I am excited to build all these skills Abigail has this month. I am excited to have fun with her and just spend time with her. I am ready to enjoy watching my child learn and develop. This is my last month with her before she starts preschool in August. She starts August 1 at a special needs preschool in our local elementary school. She will go every morning and get extra therapy there. I am so excited for her, but so nervous too! So this month we are just going to have fun and enjoy our last month of summer. I cannot wait to see what Abigail is capable of, but I am thankful for times to step back and enjoy the journey!