I’ve known for years that Carrie makes sloooooooooow but steady progress. She gets there…eventually. She takes her own sweet time, but I can see her progress over time. Of course I’d love to have rapid fire strides like parents of supposedly normal kids get to brag about, but I know she’s doing the best she can.
That’s why I cherish the times that she does something so surprising or profound. These stolen moments are like a Post-It note from God reminding me that she’s making the tiniest of baby steps towards progress.
Here’s my latest example. Carrie LOVES to bounce on a yoga ball like a deranged circus performer. She does it for ten to fifteen minutes at a time because it helps her to release some energy. Plus, it just looks fun. See?
Yesterday, my husband, older daughter, and I were downstairs having a snack, enjoying the bass thumping sounds of Carrie bouncing on her yoga ball in the playroom directly above us. But then we heard a solid thump followed by a shouted, “Can we fix it?” I raced upstairs and saw Carrie sitting on the floor holding two halves of the yoga ball, one in each hand. The entire yoga ball had popped under the strain of her 70-pound bouncing frame. I drew in a deep breath, prepared for the meltdown.
But then she laughed.
Carrie held up both pieces, giggled hysterically, and said, “We can use duct tape? We can fix it?” She was still very, very upset that her yoga ball had popped, but she was laughing at the situation. I could see the war happening right inside her: on the one hand she wanted to scream at her disappointment over losing her ball, but on the other hand she was able to see how funny it was. She probably also was able to understand that I was going to make this right, either by fixing her ball (impossible) or replacing it. Plus, since it’s Carrie we’re talking about and we’re ready at all times to distract her with another activity, there’s another yoga ball downstairs! She was going to be okay.
One year ago, maybe even only three months ago, Carrie would have dissolved in the floor and begun screaming. The progress she’s made lately has brought her to the point of laughing at something that really is funny, when you think about it. No, her acceptance with the situation isn’t up there with swimming the English Channel or winning the Scripps Spelling Bee, but it’s a tiny step towards a more normal life.
And for today, she laughed with joy.