Ten months. What has happened this month? The biggest thing we have done this month is go to family camp with Anah for the first time. She was able to participate with the kindergarteners class with the help of a one-on-one aide. Though the change in routine threw her off for a couple of days, she quickly settled into the week at camp. Mealtimes were not as bad as I had envisioned, and she hiked up and down hills, climbed stairs and did lots more walking than she is used to doing!
Now that we are done with most of her medical care, aside from her routine checkups with various doctors each year, we are now moving on to focusing on her educational needs. I am learning how she learns, and even though she is seeming to make some big jumps, I am beginning to realize how long this is going to take. (My husband wrote a great blog post for our church's blog with some vignettes of our daily life.)
One thing I am beginning to see is the lack of reasoning capability. Cause and effect aren't always as obvious to her as it is to us. Everything she learns is more a matter of routine. This is stretching me because I am used to explaining to my kids why or at least having the ability to communicate my thoughts to them. I don't know if she will ever gain that capability or if her history has somehow stunted her in some way.
So, that is where we are at right now. Otherwise, life has settled into a very predictable routine. She understands most of what we say to her. She is starting to make progress towards dressing herself and setting up her toilet seat. She is learning to make smiley faces, though I'm not sure she knows what they are. She enjoys pretending with the play dishes, "peeling" fruits and vegetables. She is a good traveler. She is enjoying the swimming pool in the summer.
I must confess that I still look at Anah as a big inconvenience to me. Everything takes so long. Her slowness aggravates me. The repetition over and over. There are times when I want to scream, "Arggh! Kill me now!"
And yet, more than once, we've had people who do not know Anah come up to us and comment on what a sweet girl she is. I would think to myself, "Her? Sweet? You don't even know the half of it!" And while complaining talking to a friend, she told me that she thought that Anah was sweet too---maybe not externally, but in her spirit. I, on the other hand, have been so wrapped up in all the inconvenience that I have not taken the time to appreciate and thank God for her. Perhaps her blessing to others is not what she can do for them, but simply for who she is. And that's definitely a lesson I need for myself too.
There's a lot to be thankful for, but as we near the end of our first year, I feel like we've just started our journey with her. My prayer lately has been that God would give me the eyes to see the sweetness in her and not just her stubbornness. I have appreciated the many friends who have come alongside to simply listen to me rant and complain and just sit with me. I am so grateful for you all.