Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Waxing Philosophical

"Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work; you don't give up."

I've been thinking a bit about hope lately. The nature of hope. The idea of hope. The why, what, and when of hope. When is it okay to hope? When is it foolish to hold onto it? This may turn into a bit of a ramble - but it's something I need to capture. I invite you to bear with me or don't -- this one is for me.

I'm certain hope is on my mind because 2010 has been a year of hope for our family. Hope for goodness in the unknown. Hope that we made the right decisions. Hope that tomorrow would come and the next day after that and we would all still be here to welcome it -- together.

Of course, we did not rely on hope alone. Hope is no substitute for preparation. You inform yourself, you research, you connect and confirm, and you pray. And when all that can be done is done, when all of the decisions that can be made are made, you invite hope to sit beside you and you take the journey. There is no avoiding the journey.

Hope was the fuel we relied on when we were running on empty. It filled us up and set us straight; hope offered direction and focus. Hope became the energy we took in and passed on to our family, our doctors, our children. It helped us to see beyond now to tomorrow, to better. Hope helped us create a vision we worked to realize. There is no avoiding the work.

Our every hope has not yet been realized. Our family still operates a degree or two east of normal, but we are here. Together. And in that there is hope. Our dreams and wishes and hope continue to invite possibility. Amazing, unexpected possibility.

Hope is light. And no matter how many shadows you must pass through to find the light, you walk because you have hope that it will be found. A wise and dear friend said, "Light and shadow bring depth into our being." I love that. I feel that. I aspire to understand that truth more fully. Indeed, if 2010 was a year to connect with and understand the power of hope, I walk into 2011 full of intention to invite light into every corner of my life. More light. Less shadow. I think that's how it works. And somehow I feel that although I cannot control the timing or depth of the shadows, I can control the light with which I meet them.

Vague - yes. Ethereal - probably. But that's the great thing about personal truths and growth - they are your own to ponder and understand. Your own. Embrace yours.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Silent Treatment

Mac and Maui were made for each other.

Hey there friends! Yep, still here. Still happy. Still trying to fit it all into the day. Still falling short when it comes to maintaining our little journal of adventures here. Since Mac has become more mobile, leaving all of his tubes and troubles behind for now, we've been on the move. But today it's not about getting caught up on Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or an impromptu trip to see Mickey or Maui. I hope and plan and have committed to update over Christmas--really. But today, I need your help.

After three months of speech therapy, McKay has nothing to say. He's becoming increasingly frustrated with our communication routine (or lack thereof) and has starting hitting and biting to make his point. Not so fun.

I'm signing. I'm repeating words and short phrases at nauseum. We're watching all the language videos. Reading books. He's going to nursery where he can see and hear other kids speaking and singing. He'll start a special preschool program in January to augment his opportunities for interaction. Grandmas are on board. Aunts are on board. Babysitters are doing the same. The poor kid probably thinks you have to say everything five times to be heard. And yet, nothing.

This week our speech therapist has recommended we commit to a speech development program called The Hanen Program. Have any of you experienced this program? It's an extensive on campus education program about helping children communicate. Please say someone out there knows something about this! I need to know if this is something that will be worth our time. The time commitment is, well, a big commitment. Not so bad if I can take Mac with me after a day at the office and we get to focus on him for a few hours, but this program is just for parents. No Mac. Just mom. I can't love missing an entire night each week with my boys. I can't love that I won't be actually coaching him through the process, but sitting in a classroom discussing whether or not McKay is better or worse off than all of the other kids whose parents will be there too. Is that selfish? Am I being short sighted? Bad attitude? Seriously - tell me.

So here's the plea -have any of you experienced speech delays with your kids? Have any of you after taking a truly hard look at whether it's you that has enabled that delay and changing your ways, still been frustrated by your child's seeming disinterest in language, imitation, sign or anything that has to do with communication? What did you do?

Don't get me wrong. McKay plays, he dances, he follows some directions, he seems to understand most things we tell him, he loves, he kisses, he squeezes and problem solves. But he does not speak. He is 28 months old and has no words. And everyone seems to think that's a bad thing. A really bad thing.

Part of me wants to believe that it's okay. He'll make it up. He'll figure it out. But professionals who study this topic seem to be worried or puzzled or fascinated by it. And that gets me to worrying too.

So that's it tonight. Nothing particularly cheerful aside from the picture of Mr. Mac at his favorite fountain on our latest search for some sun. Just a mom who's been silent for a little too long searching for some answers for her son who seems perfectly content to enjoy the silence. Please, speak up. We're listening.