Thursday, September 06, 2012

More milestones.

Brock, Bella and Ava started school two days ago. We are in full swing of adjusting to a new fall schedule/routine and that is always a bit challenging when you have 8 people plugging along nicely with a laid-back summer schedule. But I know we will find our new groove. As we do each year at this time. My biggest challenge is to get some ready and out the door and keep the others from following that are supposed to stay home! =) Teague and Crew would gladly throw on flip flops and join the 'big kids' for a bus ride. They think it looks fun and we have had a couple of mornings of "meltdowns" over not being able to accomodate their young wishes.
Wyndham is getting ready to start a new schedule soon too. We just don't have all the details of what that entails for her quite yet. But the process is underway. I wrote an update on my FB status yesterday about how hard the first day of school is for me as I process grief in the mix of my kids growing up too. I have never been able to picture Teagan growing up- even as all her siblings do- and so to think of my little girl as a sophmore this year literally brought me to tears yesterday morning. Not a long, hard cry. But the kind of cry where I realize we have had to surrender so many dreams we had for her and we missed out on so much of the living that we imagined with her through the years. Knowing she would be so grown up and yet having only photos and mementos left of her as such a little girl just makes my heart wince with a pain I have felt over and over the past decade and more. I miss her especially so on days like this. Yet I know without a doubt that even a split second in Heaven will more than make up for whatever it is I have had to endure here on earth. So I hold tight to the hope of glory and the promises that God is making all things new. In His time.
When the kids came home from school yesterday I had baked a brownie pie and as we sat around the table eating the fresh-baked after school snack and discussing the exciting events of the first day, Bella looked across the table at Wyndham for a moment. She then turned to me and said, "I wonder if Wyndham is sad that she didn't get to go to school today?" I explained to Bella that Wyndham went to a meeting and she will likely be starting her own classes soon.
I thought that would be the end of that conversation.
Instead, my thoughtful, new fifth grader looked right into my eyes and her eyes started to well with tears. Without a bit of hesitation, Bella replied to me, "I wish I could trade my body with Wyndham for a week so that she would be able to know what it feels like to be a normal kid like the rest of the kids in my class". She was so serious and so tender and passionate and even hurt about not being able to actually act on something she wanted for her sister so badly. My own throat got that feeling in it that I feel every so often about wishing things so different. At that moment I wished that none of us was having this be a part of our "first day back at school" afternoon chat. It's heavy stuff over a piece of warm brownie pie!
I couldn't hold back my own emotions. Not after I had cried over my broken dreams with Teagan earlier in my day. So I let my tears fall and I gave Bella a hug as her own lip quivered and I told her that that was a remarkable thing to wish to do for Wyndham. She seemed sort of surprised that I would say it's amazing to want to do that for Wyndham. She said to me, "I would if I could, Mom! I would give anything to let Wyndham just be a regular kid for once!" Oh Mommy heart felt like it could burst. I was moved at the sincerity and empathy from one daughter; I was wishing the world for another; and I wanted a do-over with Teagan all at the same instance.
I don't live in this kind of emotional and heartfelt world all the time. More often than not there are arguments between kids over silly things, there is 'drama' over remotes and Wii's and who gets to play the computer next. But in that instance I realized that aside from all that stuff we are learning and experiencing stuff firsthand that makes us more sensitive to others- more aware of struggles. Ours and others too. A "normal" afterschool snack felt like a divine experience- even though I'm not even fully certain of what occurred. All  I know is I could "feel" Bella's heart. I could see Wyndham's own face with a smile on it as she ate her chocolate brownie bites, and my own heart was feeling gratitude, longing, amazement and peace all at once. It was just abit later that Wyndham was playing with her iPad and she literally poked me and turned the screen my way as she pointed to it. She has an app with all sorts of word choices that she has been getting to learn a bit at therapy and by playing with it at home. This time she had formed a 3-word sentence which read, "I want carrots". I looked at her beaming face and said, "You want carrots?" and she got so excited that I had got the message. She was so proud of herself and I was proud and blown away too! I of course, got right up from my spot at the table and brought back a little dish of mini carrots for her to eat. She was so excited all over again. It was so cute I took the picture even though the lighting was terrible. I knew I wanted to remember such a major milestone moment with her. I don't know how far she will go with the challenges that lie ahead of her. I don't know what any of my ids will face in our futures to come. But I do know that the ride is amazing and full of emotions at times that make my head and heart spin. I am so glad that 3 of my kids are off to a good start this school year. I am thankful that we have so many reasons to be thankful- no matter what we will face. I am thankful that my kids are learning to care about other people who are less fortunate than themselves and they have a front seat to how extra-special needs people can be the ones to enrich our lives- as Wyndham does in ours every single day.
The milestones may "look different" than I imagine them at times. But they are treasures and gifts that make the journey so great. Even at the twists and turns that I wish we didn't have to take at times. I am thankful that God is leading the way.


Cheryl said...

*tears* What a beautiful thing for your daughter to say. I feel some of the same feelings as you, as one of my children has died and he would have started kindergarten this year, but you are travelling down your own path of life with specific challenges to your own family and for that my heart goes out to you.


Marge Froese said...

OH, Jody, I'm so excited and proud of Wyndham! She must feel so free to have discovered she can communicate in this way - I can only imagine how this will help her and you in the days to come! Way to go sweet Wyndham! And, Bella, what an amazing heart you have - you could teach old people a thing or two! Jody, you have a precious family!

Kimberly Marcotte said...

Bella's heart is a mirror of the love and security that you and Chip have given them everyday of their lives. She reflects all of the goodness, kindness, love and compassion. She is demonstrating how you and your family are dealing with every day challenges, that may not be like everyone else but have become your normal, even though it was never your choice. The love that you have for Teagan and how you have kept her very much a part of each day, by talking about her, remembering the sweet little girl and struggling too imagine her as a teenager has impacted each of your children in such a special way. The youngest 4 never had the opportunity to meet her, but they can love her and have learned through her that each day is a precious gift. She continues to teach her siblings, just in a different way than she would have if she was here. Through watching Wyndham struggle and triumph over the mountain sat before her have not only taught them to not take health and abilities for granted but also that each person has worth, great worth. They know her, they love her and that love is more intense because of the different relationship with her. Sure, they are "normal" kids with the spats over remotes, privileges, etc... but they are extroidinary in their understanding of life, love and family. I am so humbled to be able to have a glimpse into your family's life and into your hearts. Thank you for always being real and for helping us all to truly understand God's grace.

Love always,

JP said...

Bella's thoughtful wish for her sister is absolutely love. What a precious sister.

I am beaming for Wyndham's communication and her pride in it. Great job for her!!

Katie Moore said...


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Angie R said...


pakosta said...

your kids are amazing and compassionate! what a sweet girl that bella!
and wyndham what a joy!

Andi said...

You are so blessed by your children, and they are so blessed to have you. You are raising wonderful children, as well as giving Wyndam every opportunity you can!

Lauren said...

This post is beautiful in so many ways! Love your precious family!!!!

MaRia said...

What is the name of that app?