Tuesday, January 19, 2016

happy birthday grace...

It's hard to wrap my mind and heart around the fact that Grace turns nine (9) today!  I know I say that for each and everyone of my kid's birthdays or homecoming anniversaries.  But with Grace it's especially true.  Our sweet and special girl may be a nine year old chronologically but cognitively and developmentally she is so much younger.
This past year has been one of slow progress for Grace.  She has made some increases and progress, like getting off purees (thanks to our month at the feeding clinic) and she interacts more visually and purposefully.  However, she remains super delayed in almost all developmental and self care areas. 
Grace is in the same classroom as last year, in fact she has had the same teacher for the past 2 years.  This has been a tremendous help to our family.  Regina and Grace have clicked and they have a very special relationship.  In fact, all of the aides and therapists in Grace's school have bonded with Grace.  It is these bonds that have helped pull Grace out of herself and we can't express our thanks or appreciation enough for the school she attends.  Grace will be switching classrooms at the end of this school year and I am already teary eyed thinking I will have to say goodbye to her team.
One of the reasons we got the puppies was because of Grace's love of the dogs who she interacts with at school and at our church.  Although our puppies are so far (really super far) from the well behaved therapy dogs, Grace has developed her own special relationship with the puppies.  She has started to pet them and they will sometimes lay quietly next to Grace if she is on the couch.  In addition, every time Grace goes to her chair to be fed, the puppies RUN over.  She loves to share with them.

It seems like every time I reach the end of my ability, the end of my strength, the end of my hope Grace has an achievement or a breakthrough that sustains me.  I know that this is God, reaching down and blessing me.  Letting me know that He is present and in control.  It is a balm to my soul when this happens and it always saddens me a little that I need the reminders.  But I know that God loves Grace even more that we do and I know that he has a plan for her that is greater than anything we can understand.  These glimpses of progress also remind me that He has a plan for me and it is good.  I may never know why God chose me to be the parent of a child with special needs, but I do know that I'm so thankful He calls me His daughter.
Here's a video we received from her school last week.  It shows Grace drinking from a cup without help.  This is a HUGE achievement for Grace and another step in her progress toward self feeding.  I love how proud of herself she looks.  This is also something that Grace will now do at home, which is the true sign that Grace has mastered a task.

So, even though Grace woke up and has no idea that today is her ninth birthday, we do.  We will celebrate her tonight with ice cream cake and balloons, which she loves.  We will sing to her, which makes her laugh and take photos of her with her cake to remember the day she turned nine.

Happy Birthday Grace!  Mommy and Daddy love you more than you will ever know...