“Whose woods these are, I think I know.
His house is in the village, though.
He will not see me stopping here,
To watch his woods fill up with snow.”
— Robert Frost
These are the first four lines of the poem we introduced to Abbie last Wednesday. They are also the lines she memorized over the weekend. How do we know this? Rae figured out a way for her to prove what we suspected she’d already learned.
Rae wrote half of each line on an index card, she then put three of the cards on the board. Without reading the choices to her, Rae would ask Abbie, “What comes next.” She didn’t miss once. So, not only was she able to read the cards, written in ballpoint pen at a normal size, but she was able to correctly sequence the lines. Not bad for three days’ work!!
We thought we would show this to her teacher today, and this opened my eyes to the challenges ahead, which are surmountable but present. Abbie was taking longer to answer, and we finally figured out that much of it had to do with her positioning. Because she cannot adjust her own body very well, if she is not in a position that makes it easy to use her switch, she is not able to activate it. She still did OK, though. I am just hoping that when she takes a while to answer questions or do her board work the bias will become “what is preventing her from using her switches?” rather than “she is not understanding this” or “she takes a really long time to think.”
We’ve become very adept at making it as easy as possible to communicate, but they’ve asked me now to step back and allow them to take the lead. I am biting my cheek as I type, hoping it will stimulate the right words to describe how I feel about that….scared, excited, nervous, hopeful, wary, trusting..it changes from one moment to the next. But, I do feel that this is the next step in Abbie’s Grand Adventure with God, and if nothing else, I trust in Him and in my girl who outdoes expectations at every turn.
One other little “peek behind the curtains.” We’ve been meeting with dizzying numbers of people in recent weeks to determine and coordinate the appropriate services for Abbie. This being a public site, any and all are welcome. However, it turns out that some in our service net read Abbie’s website to determine what kinds of services she needs…I am not sure who, but the word we’ve recently received is that because, according to this blog, Abbie has gotten so much better, we should be prepared for less services.
Ray’s eyebrows rising to meet his hairline is fair warning that steam will be erupting from his ears in short order. The above situation elicited that look, and he curtly asked me to leave the room so he could set the record straight. I knew what he was going to say, so I politely declined to leave, and spoke on my own behalf. He was going to tell them that I focus on the positive, the hopeful and the good and that doing so is essential to my survival through all of this. His point may be valid, but I boiled it down to “we choose to make our victories and progress public, while keeping the challenges and struggles a bit more private” (except for now, apparently!)
For whoever is using this blog as an assessment tool…first off, shame on you — there is a reason we fill out so much paperwork and and coordinate with so many people. This blog is for family, friends, and fellow trekkers. These people deserve to hear how wonderful our little girl is doing without the continual layering-on of the reality of life with a brain injury… we never get a full night of sleep; we are constantly battling her body to keep it from contracting, from being injured or requiring more surgery; her respiratory status requires constant vigilance; caring for her is the most demanding thing any of us has ever done. Unless you have walked a mile, or a day, in our shoes you cannot understand. That is part of the reason we don’t prattle on about it….those who’ve not been here can’t comprehend, and those who have don’t need the explanations.
Whew — I think that qualifies as a rant. I apologize, but I guess it’s reality. Abbie’s soaring cognition is one precious aspect of her life, but the things listed above are always in play as well. We could really use your prayers for those areas – particularly about keeping her body as limber, aligned and functional as it can possibly be.
Back to our Little Miss, who has become so enthralled with not only “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening”, but also other works of Mr. Robert Frost (as we call him), that I am now calling her my Little Frostie. In fact, in her honor, I will close with his sublime words, as they seem so fitting on a busy night:
“The woods are lovely and dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.”
May God bless you!!
“Whose woods these are, I think I know.