Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Her 'highs' are higher...







This is Wyndham as she appeared yesterday in one of her proudest moments ever. I have to admit I was equally, if not more, proud of her myself. This series of pictures shows her sitting, climbing and sliding on the arm of our couch.
My other kids have done it more times than I can count. Yesterday Wyndham climbed up on there all by herself, and at first just held her hands up and wiggled her fingers; she could see them in a mirror on the opposite wall of the room. She was fairly happy with that, and it was her laughter that drew me into the room in the first place. I was totally caught off-guard when I looked up and saw where she was and what she was laughing about- I never would have guessed she would be up to such antics.
My other kids are told to get "down from there" when I find them on the arms of the couches/chairs. But yesterday, for this moment, I just had to grab my camera. By the time I got back to take pictures, Wyndham was no longer just sitting and wiggling her fingers in the air at her reflection in the mirror, but she had {almost} held her breath and mustered enough courage and she was 'sliding down' onto two pillows and onto the couch cushion. It's about an 18 inch 'drop' to the seat...but her shrieks of laughter made it seem as though she was riding the world's biggest roller coaster! She was laughing so hard when she 'landed' that she had to stop and breathe 'on purpose'. It was literally magic to me to watch it all unfold.
She finally stopped laughing and turned and in a serious manner climbed back up onto the arm of the couch. It took some effort on her part. She sat there and bounced and then her laughter started to return and then after a couple of minutes she slid down onto the seat cushion once again. Her mood went from one of almost panic/fear to one of the most pure kinds of laughter that there is each time she climbed back up and slid back down.
I think she did it 7 or 8 times total. It was one of her shining moments in life; I must say.
Some of you are new readers, some of you just don't know the 'whole' story as I don't go into extensive details in regards to Wyndham's condition, but it is really the heart of the matter here today. It's hard to summarize her life in a single blogpost, but I'll try to at least bring some of you up to speed. At the time of our incident, Wyndham was just under 7 months old and she received a closed-head injury. (She is 6 and 3/4 now.) She was not expected to survive those injuries, but she did. She has had ongoing issues with gross motor, muscle tone, speech/language development and physical growth and thus has been in rehab and therapy since we took her home from the hospital originally in August 2001. It has been a constant part of our lives- we have logged more hours in doctor appts., in ER's, and in therapy sessions than I could begin to count. At age 2 Wyndham weighed 14 pounds. She gets a shot for growth everyday and likely will get them for the rest of her life. She sat up around age 2 1/2. At age 4 and 3/4 Wyndham hit a major milestone and began to learn how to walk. She went to preschool for two years and attends kindergarten with a personal assistant this year- she's in a 'regular' class and doing very well.
She has caught up in growth quite a bit in the past 2 years and 'looks like' a normal kid in class now. She comprehends fairly close to her age appropriate level. Meaning, when you tell her to do something, or when you ask her if she wants milk or juice, she understands. She can change the channel on tv and start a dvd if she wants. She can open the fridge door and she has likes and dislikes {her favorite color is orange}. =) In many ways she seems very 'normal'.
But on the otherhand, she has challenges in her life that other kids her age have never had to or ever will face. Things like aversions to certain textures or noises...things that make her feel 'threatened'- especially in new/different environments. We're still in the process of getting her potty-trained. Her greatest challenge at this point is her ability to speak.
While her comprehension is very good, her speech development presents at a 6 month old level right now. Although she has said a few words, that's just where she falls in the language assesment. She has gotten much more vocal and 'verbal' in the past few years, and she has been learning sign language as her means of communication. It has been something where we're not doing a formal program, but instead just learning signs that help her to make choices and give her the ability to express herself a little bit and also for the rest of us to be able to put words to the 'world around us'...like colors and animals and foods and the alphabet. That sort of thing. She has done really well with learning signs, but still, because of the type of brain trauma she received, her challenge is using them on her own. She makes progress each and every week, and has in the last year grown a lot with her ability to show you what she wants and to initiate signs or point to something she wants instead of always just waiting for us to ask her. We are waiting for a communication device which we are excited about. The hope is that it will give 'her a voice' and open up the communication both ways- especially when she is around people who don't know sign language.
I had gotten some emails and comments recently about Wyndham, and after this big event yesterday, of climbing on the couch and sliding down and the fun she had in that moment, I just felt it was the perfect time to let you into her 'world' a little bit more.
I never imagined my life with some of the challenges and issues we have gone through and continue to face each day, but I have to say that it has probably been one of the best things to happen in my life. Not that we have had to deal with pain and injuries and trauma, but for the fact that it put life in a new perspective for me. It has made be more patient and strong at the same time. It has shown me that there is SO much blessing in life when we just stop and pay attention.
My life was fairly easy and was whizzing by me in a blur before Teagan died. Now the little stuff has become some of the greatest highlights to date. I wrote in a journal shortly after our trauma that "life would forever be tainted for me"...no matter how great the day went. I just couldn't imagine seeing beauty or happiness ever again, without having tears and heartache rushing to the forefront of my mind because of Teagan's death and all that we would face in life as a result- most of the challenges would be physical and emotional injuries and scars.
But because of Wyndham and the triumphs she has made, I can honestly say that I no longer believe the words I wrote. Life can be and IS beautiful and graced with blessing and happiness even along the long, broken road that our family is on. I am amazed to have a 'front seat' at some of these events. I cooked dinner last night with a knot in my throat, not because this amazing moment was somehow 'tainted' by our tragedy...but rather because it would have been practically meaningless without it.
Teagan is my angel in Heaven as I go about my days...somewhere her spirit soars. But I have realized many times now, that Wyndham is equally an angel in my life...and her spirit soars too.

33 comments:

Becca said...

I'm so happy for you, Jody.
For you and for Wyndham.
It's these little things that you'll remember. The milestones that you'll revisit.
Thank you for sharing it with us!

xoxo.

Gigi said...

go wyndham!!!!!!!!! i am so SO happy for all of you...your pride for your sweet daughter bursts through my computer screen...

how awesome!!!
thanks for sharing this...

xoxoxoxoxo

Wade, Melanie, & kids said...

How AWESOME!!!! I am so happy for you, Wyndham, and the rest of the fam!!!! Congrats and thanks again for always reminding me to cherish every moment!!!!! Have a wonderful rest of the week!!!! Melanie

Wilna said...

this is amazing. AMAZING JODY!!! I am so thrilled with you. Kiss Wyndam for me will you?

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said. Wyndham is truly a joy. I'm so excited that you will try a communication device with her. I've seen them open up new worlds for kids.

xoxo karen in ca

Stephie G said...

And you can see just how brightly her spirit is soaring in these pics! Great job capturing these Mama and your gorgeous post brought big smiles and tears to my face this morning.

KatieButler said...

The pictures of Wyndham and your post really put a smile on my face this morning, Jody.

Anonymous said...

Our God is truly an awesome God!! What a blessing to you...and to us...to see (& for you) to hear the progress of this precious little girl. Thank you so much for sharing this milestone with us!

BTW....do the rest of you present any residual physical affects of that accident?? I already knew the story...but in re-reading it had forgotten the extent of yours, Chips and Brock's injuries.

Anonymous said...

You warmed my heart this morning, thank you. I love to hear a mom as overjoyed as myself when our kido's give us these special moments. Way to go Wyndham. Way to go Mom!

Anne

Janna said...

Thank you so much for sharing your life lessons and stories with us Jody. I am always encouraged by what you write. I recently read that it's not life's trials that make you stronger... but what you choose to do in response to those trials. The greatest rewards come to those who choose to lay their trials at the foot of the cross and allow Christ to carry their burdens for them. You and your husband clearly have done that and your rewards have been great... in every little moment that you have learned to cherish and in the amazing gift that you have in Wyndham and your other children. They are all very fortunate to have you as a mom and Chip as a dad. You are amazing people who set an incredible example of faith for the rest of us. God bless you guys!!!

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
~James 1:2-4

Sonja said...

Yay!!!!! Wyndam!!!! What an amazing blessing...I can't thank you enough for sharing it with us. As I sit here, my little bubbies are looking at the screen, asking "can we color eggs?" ( I wish I had some dye:)

Living His Grace said...

Amazing Wyndham!!

It's nice to see the little adventure that you had!!

You're beautiful!

amy said...

that was beautiful. wyndham is indeed an angel on earth. God is always teaching us, isn't he? thanks for the post today...you touch so many lives with your words. have a wonderful day.

amy

Monica said...

Oh my, that was a tear jerker! You must be so proud of her, but you should be proud of yourself as well. You obviously have contributed to her successes and refuse to believe she can't acheive everything she wants. Thank you for sharing that with us. :)

scrapnic72 said...

Jody, I feel so privileged to celebrate in this milestone with you and Wyndham....you can just see the joy and pride on her face....brings me to tears of joy! Your post resonates with what I have been savoring in Ali Edwards' new book....it is SO MUCH about the little everyday moments....which really aren't little at all.

Nicole.

jackie carl said...

Jody,
Thank you for the "meaningFUL" post today. I have read your entire story, but it was very insightful to learn more about Wyndham & her challenges.
May she continue to soar above the highest heights!
Prayers are with your entire family.
Many more blessing to you.
Sincerely,
Jackie Carl

Adrienne said...

wow Jody I have to say that your journaling is always so powerful! I'm so happy for Wyndham and happy for you that you were able to delight in her moment :) I think I'll be happy all day long about this! Thanks for sharing it with everyone :D
hugs

said...

WOW, amazing. Brought tears to my eyes. I like to read your blog to remind me to find joy in these little things. Wydham is a very lucky girl, and you a very lucky mom too! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for always making the 'new normal' we face as parents of angels still seem...well, 'normal'. Your words of how you never felt you would smile again, etc. were/are my own, but my words and life too now reflect the joy of living for the little things and the accomplisments of our daughter's three brothers here on Earth. I just love finding the time to check in on you and your family and smile. I think when I get home today we will all jump on the couch to celebrate Wyndham's joy. :)

Rhonda

Lori B said...

YAY Wyndham!!!!! Jody, awesome photos and thanks for sharing with us, you so brought tears of joy for your family!!!

Go Wyndham!!!

mel said...

Just AWESOME Wyndham!!! You go GIRL!!!

I just have to say you are an amazing family. Thank you for posting on your blog and sharing your lives with us. it definitely makes this world seem a little smaller and more personal.
best to you-
mel :)

amanda said...

Yay for Wyndham!!!! That is amazing, Jody!!! :)

colorfullady said...

Sweeeeeet! :-)

Shaun Paddock said...

That Wyndham is so beautiful and full of love and laughter. What a blessing she is and how lucky she is to have you as her mommy.
Love and God bless,
Shaun

Joy said...

Jody, it is so challenging -- in a good way -- to read your writing about the girls. We too have celebrated "little" things like a smile or rolling over or, this week, walking 15 feet in a walker when just a few weeks ago my daughter could barely move it any. You are exactly right -- these things would have been meaningless without the baggage that came with it.

As the Christian mother of a special child (plus three others), I really appreciate your blog and your honest sharing of the highs and the lows of this path... but always in the light of God's love and His Word. Finding like-minded parents in this journey is very difficult, so when I found your blog a year or so ago, I latched onto it!

Our daughter got her communication device three years ago, and I think she would say it was the best thing we've ever done for her (of course, this is from a 7-year-old's perspective!). She can not only express wants and needs, but can share what's going on at school and home, tell jokes, and practice fine motor skills without knowing it for hours every day! It took 3 years to get where she is now -- the first year or so I think she saw it as a super-high-tech toy. Somehow in that 2nd year working with it, it finally clicked in her head what she could do with it. And she hasn't looked back. I am so excited for you and Wyndham to get hers!

Jamie said...

My husband and I read your post last night, as well as the links to your family's story. We were truly moved and encouraged by your portrayal of hope and forgiveness. Thank you for sharing. You have much to celebrate and it looks like she is doing just that in her pictures!

lisaluckie said...

What a sweet, sweet blessing!

Coco said...

Thank you for sharing.

It is insight and raw honesty like this that minister to my own struggles that I often feel are overwhelming and hopeless and that no one else feels this way...

When someone allows themselves to be vulnerable and real... it puts things into perspective, and I know we walk different roads, but never alone.

Bless you, Sweet Wyndham, Teagan and all of the Ferlaak Clan!

Colie said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I've been reading your blog for about a six months now and you have impacted my life and my thinking. I appreciate your everyday moments as well as these special moments that you share. I can imagine the excitement as Wyndham worked so hard to achieve something new.

Anonymous said...

"I cooked dinner last night with a knot in my throat, not because this amazing moment was somehow 'tainted' by our tragedy...but rather because it would have been practically meaningless without it." This was a profound statement. Definately made me think. God bless you.

pakosta said...

oh Dear Jody, this makes my heart leap for joy, literally...so much love for you and Wyndam...
tara

GretaB said...

Jody, thanks for posting the link for me. I needed this. I think I need to go through your archives as I'm sure there are a lot more lessons I can learn.

Hugs and love to you, Wyndham, and the rest of the Ferlaak family!

pakosta said...

"I cooked dinner last night with a knot in my throat, not because this amazing moment was somehow 'tainted' by our tragedy...but rather because it would have been practically meaningless without it."

I know I left a comment already prior to this, but this part, this gets me the most, gosh Jody, I sure do love you and what you bring to my life. thank you.
tara