Monday, March 23, 2009

46 months




Blessing was 23 months old when we first met her.

Which makes this month the month that she's been with us half of her life. This is supposedly a big mile marker for us. I can't say I see any difference. I suppose it's sort of like a birthday. Today, she's really no different than she was yesterday. Or at least, the growth is to tiny we can no longer see it. But we're here! She's lived with us half of her life! Woo-hoo!

But it is amazing to think back on what she was like in those first days, months, and even her first year. She's not the same kid at all! Just a few days into her stay with us, she was sick and I took her to the doctor. I'm not sure there has ever been a single situation that was harder than that one. This was a little one who would scream when I held her for any length of time. A few minutes she could handle, if we were looking at a book, or walking to the swing. But quickly holding became threatening, I suppose, and she'd go rigid with her tiny little body. She'd scream. She'd kick. She'd bite. She'd spit. A place like a waiting room was horror. There was no keeping her in my lap or holding without the rage. There was no letting her down, either, because she'd quickly run over to someone else and bite or spit at them. Hours I felt the scrutinizing gazes of other parents who were certain I was a terrible parent. Certain I had caused this little one to be so defiant and out of control. Lovely day, that was. I also distinctly remember that after an hour of trying to console the inconsolable, as I was walking around the waiting room with her fitting self in my very tired arms, she reached her tiny hands out to an older black gentleman sitting in a chair, also waiting. Blessing had lived with a black family prior to living with us. He was familiar.

He reciprocated the reach, and I let my baby go. She laid her head on his chest and went to sleep. It took all I had to choke back tears. It was bitter sweet. Thankful for a moment of comfort for her. Thankful for his willingness. Yet feeling not only scorned by the mass waiting parents, but also wondering if she would ever view me as her mom. I loved her so much but she reciprocated nothing.

And something else I couldn't really explain.... she walked. It was like walking was her therapy or something. For months I could stand in one spot, and hold her hand as she walked around and around and around me. Eyes down. Arms out and up for balance though she was too old to still do that. Or if I walked with her, she'd walk for miles. We spent hours walking. And hours in our front porch swing. TheY were about the only 2 places she was relatively happy.

Her hair would fall out in globs when I brushed it or pulled out a rubber band. Her gums bled when I brushed them. Not to mention the screaming she did about it all. A bath? pure torture. I had to sit on her and hold her arms down with my knees, and pry her mouth open to brush her teeth. If my husband or I started at her quickly, even if it was in play or to grab for a quick hold, she'd fall to the ground in the fetal position and throw her hands over her head. She only grunted one or two (I only remember one... "dog", oh wait, maybe she said, "shoe"). They were deep throat grunts, not toddler sounding words. Know what she said the other day? "I'm not going to be your friend No more! I called thousands of times, and you didn't answer!" Full sentences. Completely understandable. Very big words for someone not talking at all at 2. I know you can't be as excited about that as I am.


And what else today? Well she can certainly be a defiant little cuss. And there are some neurological/developmental issues that show their head occasionally. I think there will likely always be some hints that she was exposed to drugs and alcohol long before she took her first breath. But they aren't going to stop her from living a life that's full, abundant, or from accomplishing anything she wants. She's bright. She's beautiful. She eats with a fork (hey, let's celebrate the little things, too). She is very likely our most affectionate child, very sweet and can be very sympathetic towards her sisters (something we were beginning to think we'd never see). I'll never forget the first time we hurt our feelings. Oh, she cried, and threw fits all the time when she didn't get what she wanted. Or when I was brushing her teeth. But not that sweet cry even Mercy already does if my voice is too harsh. Or the cry you get from most toddlers when they realize they did something wrong. They wanted to please. They were trying. We didn't get that from her for a very long time. When we finally did, and she tuned up and cried real, genuine tears; my husband and I looked at each other and cried, too. I've never been so glad to hurt a kid's feelings! ;)

These pictures are literally her first hour with us. Sweet aren't they? They look very different than the picture I've painted. But, you know, she didn't decide she didn't like us until that night at bath time! tee-hee! ;)

10 comments:

Lisa said...

This is big stuff! Hooray!

deepfriedpicklesandicecream said...

Wow,has it been that long?

I know just how important speaking in sentences is,that is a HUGE milestone.

Jennifer said...

Wonderful story!! She is sooo precious!!

chickadee@afamiliarpath said...

time has flown! she's so different from when she was first here. i love her sweet smile.

Shelley said...

oh how I remember the "cp" walk...or so we wondered...and the baby wearing so we didn't lose her... I remember the celebration when you got to pull her out of "school." I remember chasing her all over family camp.... and mostly I remember how glad I was to put her REAL name on her new bible and drop that old one. What a blessing that girl truly is; and I love her very much.

Shelley said...

ah, I left out one of my favorite memories.... when Karis was called Toby :)

Lou said...

That was beautiful. Blessing has touched a lot of lives and not just yalls. Everyone just loves her.

Maury said...

This story is just AWESOME!!! I remember when we had cooking group and you were taking your classes! She is such a beautiful little girl, and it is so inspiring to me to hear/see how she has healed so much!!

What a "blessing" she has been to your family, and you to her!

Amanda and Justin Dreyer said...

It is incredible what she and you and TJ have overcome. To see where she was to (even when we left) is an incredible change. I can't wait to see what God has in store for her. We miss you guys!

glitzen said...

I love how you write about her, the love shines through the tiniest detail. How blessed you both are to have each other.