Thursday, July 4, 2013
Life Without Training Wheels
I think I said something about our family was busy, just like every other family out there. Crazy busy...just like everyone. We ride horse 2-3 times a week. Feed the growing number of 4-H projects that 'litter' the fields surrounding our house. We work every day. Yet, as I stood looking at our amazing and wonderful summer activities, I noticed that a couple of things were missing. I will list them in order of importance- swimming, swimming and swimming. Summer offers the only time of year that we Michiganders can swim and our family rarely can find the time to indulge in that activity. I decided that was going to change. We have not had the time to swim for many summers because of the many activities that have taken up residence in our lives and the surgeries that Jacie has had every year since she came. Having said that, she did have her yearly orthopedic surgery but it was minor compared to her past surgeries- two weeks and she was up and walking well. I think that even she was surprised. That is when I realized that my water baby needed to swim, swim and swim- all summer long. So I have made it a priority. It has been very fun. Jacie loves to swim and it is very good for her body. Now that she is not in therapy, I am trying to plug her into things that are fun and will fill the gap.
She is also finally getting the chance to ride her bike WITHOUT TRAINING WHEELS! Can you tell that I am excited? This is something that I have prayed for. It is very difficult for her to do because she is paralyzed from the knees down. What I didn't know was that her ankles are not really fused- they have been removed. She has no ankle bones or heel bones. Her leg bones are simply fused to her feet. This gives them no mobility. Yet, she is learning to ride a bike with no aids. Continue to remember her. She is very afraid of falling.
Jacie struggles with fear in many areas of her life. She lies awake at night thinking (way too much!) It does not surprise me. In the course of her 11 years, she has been orphaned, almost died, been fostered, had major reconstructive surgery on both legs and feet, lost her foster parents of over 5 1/2 years, lived in an orphanage for 2 years, been adopted, moved to a foreign country, learned a new language, had major hip and leg surgery, had major leg surgery, had minor leg surgery...
I'm sure you're getting the idea. So if she struggles going to sleep because she thinks that the wind is going to blow the house down or the boogie monster is living in the next room (I'm sure he is in the form of her older brother)- who am I to be surprised? This kid has walked through the fire. The recent installment of a small television on the top of her bookshelf and a couple of strategically placed movies have helped her to self-pacify. Amazing. I wish I would have thought of it about 3 years ago. Don't worry, she isn't one to watch tv all night and not sleep. She just needs the chance to watch if she needs to. Television is something that has been standard for her throughout. She uses it to regulate herself. I am teaching her to use it for her benefit but monitor herself.
She is an amazing. This journey, though difficult, is incredible. I am learning everyday. For that I am grateful.