New steps in a New Year

Sometimes the days run together and it seems like nothing much is happening until I sit down and try to write about it. This blog is a personal blessing because as I distill the past week into a few lines of words, I realize things are happening and I need to give Abbie credit and celebrate each step.

The highlight of the last several days was Abbie saying RJ’s name. I had her up on my bed, and he walked in to join us. She said what I thought was his name, but I never believe something the first time. So, I asked her to say it again, and she did, much to RJ’s delight. With raised eyebrows and a huge grin he asked her to say his name, and she did it again! Three times in a row left me no room for doubt, and much cause for joy!

I noted lately that it’s getting even easier to elicit smiles verbally. For example, when I asked her if she wanted a bath she smiled broadly, dimple and all. Her smile is also changing. Debbie first noticed it, but now I’ve seen it too – the dimple on the left side of her face. I’ve not seen it for over 2 1/2 years, because that side of her face has been too weak to smile strongly. I recalled the first time I saw her right-side dimple again, in response to desperate prayers Ray and I lifted while she was in rehab. It was the “sign” that we asked for to assure us she was in there and coming back to us. For that reason, seeing the dimple on the other side seems so much more significant to me than just a stronger smile.

We had her standing up during therapy yesterday using a tilt table. For the first time she stood with her ankles flexed past 90 degrees. This is a big step and will make it possible for her to stand up from a sitting position as well as making it easier to walk. At the moment when I am trying to load her back in her wheelchair, gather all her stuff and get home therapy “firsts” sometimes don’t sink in. It wasn’t until much later that I realized this is a step we’ve been working towards for a long time and I need to celebrate the victory, no matter how incremental it is.

This is a pretty business-like update, and there is much more on my heart, but at the end of the week I find it hard to summon the emotional strength to communicate it. Perhaps on quiet Sunday afternoon I can dig a little deeper.

Praying that your new year is off to as great a start as Abbie’s!