at this time last year i was preparing the house for company. i cleaned the guest bathroom, put fresh sheets on the bed, set out towels and made sure the rest of the house was presentable. our friend rachel ottley was flying in for the weekend to observe harrison, evaluate his issues and discuss the results of her findings with us. she did all that and also spent time drying tears, encouraging our parenting skills and teaching us how to play with both our boys in a therapeutic way.
this weekend marks the one year anniversary of...well, i like to think of it as a race. one year ago on september 14th (the day rach told me about my son) the starting gun shot off and we began a slow and steady marathon. we have discovered so much, for which i am immensely grateful, and i cannot imagine what our lives would be like had we not ventured down this path.
the gains harrison has made are so many. we've gone from noticing a problem to evaluating a problem to treating a problem to seeing improvements to graduating from treatment to noticing new problems.
we have come a long way but this marathon we're running does not have a defined finish line.
this will be a life-long, never-ending journey.
just this morning i met with harrison's teacher, principal, the school's child psychologist, and juliana our occupational therapist, to discuss modifying harrison's school day. he's been complaining that full day school is "tiring", "too much", "hard work" and that he "wants a day off" or "only wants to go for a half day." upon hearing those first complaints my concerned mommy instinct kicked into overdrive: he's actually telling me how he feels! i need to do something about this. i need to honor him and is willingness to express himself! i need to help make his days better.
during the meeting harrison's teacher and the child psychologist made it clear that they would never have known there was anything remotely different about harrison. he participates well in class, listens well, behaves himself well, interacts with others well. all in all, he is a great kiddo and a great student. my response to their comments was this: thank you! i'm so very happy to hear it. but i need you to know that all stuff harrison does well doesn't come easily. his body is working so hard to maintain that level of function!
it's been one year of hard, hard, HARD work!
it's been one year and harrison can now keep himself regulated for a full day of school. it's tiring. but he can do it.
it's been one year and harrison can now identify his feelings and express them. not all the time. but sometimes. and sometimes is more than never.
it's been one year and harrison can now interject comments and carry on conversations. it's easier if the chit-chat is about a subject he loves. but factual conversation is better than none.
it's been one year and harrison can now tell us his likes and dislikes. it might be hard to hear. but we value every bit of insight.
it's been one year and harrison can now watch movies without a breakdown. not every movie. but we've had family movie night a few times and that's a BIG win.
it's been one year and harrison can now talk about his day. it is sheer joy to listen to him spill over about his life as opposed to pulling information out of him and still ending up with nothing.
it's been one year and harrison can now say things like "mommy, wouldn't it be so amazing to walk on a rainbow?" he said that earlier this week. it's the very first abstract/imagining statement i have ever heard him say.
it's been one year and i can now read harrison's body. i still have questions and wonder where in the world that behavior came from. but i know him so well.
it's been one year and i can now advocate for my son in an honorable, respectful yet fierce way.
it's been one year and i can now help him create strategies for dealing with every day things that might bother him.
it's been one year and i can now talk to him about his body and his brain and how they are so beautiful and so unique and how it makes me so happy that god made him just.like.this. and i am so lucky i get to be his mommy.
it's been one year.
it's been one very long exhausting year.
it's been one damn good year.