If you felt something fall on your head today, it might have been heart bits. Because mine soared above the clouds this morning and exploded.
The girls and I were downstairs loading on the winter weather gear, preparing to take Rhema to school. I grabbed a new red hat for myself, stooped down, and made a funny face at Hope. We laughed extra long because being around Hope makes you laugh extra long.
Rhema was turned away from us, as usual, humming, seemingly oblivious.
“Rhema. Look at me in my silly red hat.”
Child does not respond to name. I remember the assessments as if it were yesterday. The people from Early Intervention in my living room, calling her name, trying to get her attention… but she was a million worlds away. The only way to get her to notice anything – even a highly desired object – was to wave it directly in front of her eyes.
Lack of eye contact. God gave me a child with the most incredible brown eyes, and for years I hardly ever saw them straight on.
Zero joint attention. I remember standing at a window, jumping and waving and chanting her name while she and the babysitter stood right there, on the other side. The babysitter said “Mommy’s here!” and pointed at me. She never looked. She could not look at the babysitter and follow her gaze to me.
Hours upon hours, days and days and years of work and therapy and tears and prayers. And we are here.
On this day she turns around. She looks at me. She lets me see the magnificent smile spread across her face. She walks over to me and ever so lightly touches my head.
(Pause with me now. This heart was once broken. Amazingly God mends it everyday, more and more. Sometimes He fills it with joy and gratitude to bursting.)
Then she turns away and resumes her humming like it’s nothing. But it’s not nothing.
On this autism journey, I’ve always focused on the present, tried not to think too much of the future – good or bad. So I didn’t really imagine this... and it’s happening every day now. When I can actually say something to my girl and…
She responds. Appropriately. She looks. She sees what I see. She understands.
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits! ~Ps. 103:1-2 (exclamation points added by me for emphasis)
My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding ~Ps. 49:3