Saturday, November 26, 2011


All my favorite bloggers have done "thankful" posts this year, and I of course, don't want to be left out ;) Truthfully, these posts are hard for me. I'm always a person that can think of what "more" I want. It's easy to focus on where we want to go, and forget to just appreciate the right now. The "minute simple moments" as my dear friend H says. And, the truth is, we have so very many "minute simple moments" to be thankful for. I've actually been giving this post tons of thought, and kept a list of my "thankful" thoughts over the past few days since I haven't had a moment to sit and write, and am just now sitting down to type while Mia is (hopefully) good for a three-hour stretch of sleep. I feel as if I'm racing against the clock (Mia's clock) with a lot to say, so it may be a little disjointed, but here goes . . .

I looked back at my Thanksgiving post last year and marveled at what a different place we are in this year. Last year, I didn't even have a "thankful" post. The truth was, last year, at this time, we were one week away from our trip to the Johns Hopkins Hypotonia Center, and I was terrified. Terrified they'd find "something" and pull the rug out from under my feet. I was (and still am) finding my way in this world of special needs mothering, but I feel like this year, I'm just in a better place. It is hard to describe, but I've just gotten better at living in the 'now,' and saving tomorrow's worries for tomorrow . . . I know that will be a lifelong struggle for me, but I'm just thankful that I'm headed in the direction of gratitude for the "minute simple moments" of today!

I am so very, very thankful for the little family that I get to share my life with. For B, who is my best friend. We have our ups and downs, to be sure, but there's no one else I'd rather be on this crazy journey with. He is an amazing dada to our girls -- lately, he's done a lot more with Sammie B than normal (as I've been caring for Mia) and watching their relationship grow and evolve has just melted me. I can hear them on the monitor in the mornings when he goes to get her, and I lay there and listen and just melt. Their shared giggles, hugs, love. This morning, B got up with Sam and let me sleep with Mia until after ten, and when I came downstairs, I found them so content in the living room floor, laughing and playing together. Sweetness.

And for magical Sammie B, who has taught me more in these three years than I learned in my first thirty. For little Mia, whose just joined our little world and already won our hearts over.

I'm thankful for this blog - my outlet, my therapy, my escape. My place to work through my thoughts and struggles and feelings on this journey as a mama to a special needs little girl. And, because that's really what this blog is mostly about ("My Sammie B") much of my "thankful" thoughts will focus on that magical little girl.

Ellen, over at Love that Max, posted a great list of her "thankful thoughts" for her own special man, Max. One of her points particularly resonated with me:

"Thank you for redefining my idea of 'achievement.' It's not just about reaching the end goal; it is each and every little score along the way."

I am thankful to my own little magical girl for teaching ME to re-think what "achievement" (and hard work and perseverance and a whole lot of other great qualities) really means. The thing is, if I look at where we were last year gross-motor wise, we haven't met any huge milestones. Still not walking independently, still no four-point crawling. It's easy to think of those end goals and feel like there IS no progress, but the truth is . . . achievement isn't just about those goals, "it is each and every score along the way." Cruising. Taking steps in her walker in PT and at school. Taking more functional assisted steps. There truly is progress and "achievement" in Sammie B's every day. And, I'm thankful for her for teaching me not to take anything for granted. I think about the things that she CAN do now that felt like they might never happen (like getting herself from lying to sit) and I NOTICE when she does it every.single.time. When B and I are together and she pulls herself to standing on her toy horse or gets from lying to sitting, we always steal a glance at each other over her head. Just a quick recognition, a shared moment, of the realization that "she can do that!" Each of Sammie B's "inchstones" feels like a hard-fought victory (and is the result of so, so much work on her part), and that makes it all the more amazing to witness.

So, I'm thankful for Sammie B has taught me about achievement, about appreciating every little "score" along the way to each goal, to dream big even in the face of uncertainty and challenge. Valuable lessons from a most magical child.

I am also so very, very grateful for every word that comes out of my Sammie B's mouth. When I looked at last years posts in November, I think she had said about 10 words. Now, her number of words is age-appropriate. Speaking in sentences and more than one-two word utterances is still hard for her, and her articulation is not perfect (and so unfamiliar listeners may not always know what she's saying) but our girl talks. She tells us so very, very much. And again, when she does, B and I have those stolen glances of "did you hear that?" Like tonight, after we gave the girls their baths, we asked Sammie B if she wanted to go into her room or wait for Baby Mia to be done with her bath, and she said, "wait for Baby Mia to be done with her bath." B and I both told her "good talking!," stole a glance at each other, and beamed. See? There were times when combining that many words felt far away. But here we are. Dream big despite challenges.

Some of our friends on this special needs journey have children who haven't yet found their voices, and I know that has been a struggle for the parents. And that too, has taught me (or reminded me) to not lose sight of the "cans" in face of the "can'ts" and to really, truly appreciate every word that comes from our girl. And, I do. I totally do. I learn not just from Sammie B, but from the other amazing little kiddos (and parents) we've met along our way. And for those lessons, and those friendships, I am thankful.

I am so very, very grateful for Sammie B's loving personality. Her constant "thank yous" (when I cover her with a blanket, when I give her a glass of water, the other day after we finished lunch at a restaurant, etc). She is love. Pure and simple. And while we've had our struggles transitioning to a family of four, and Sammie B may have had some moments of jealousy, her adoration for her little sister shows. She's gotten upset when she and I have left the house without her sister, she's called for "baby Mia" when she wakes up in the morning, she loves her. On Thanksgiving Day, Mia was laying on the couch crying and our sweet Sammie B slid down off her spot on the couch, held onto the couch for support, and took four very wobbly, timid cruising steps over to her sister and reached for Mia's bottle to give her. 100% magic and amazing. That is achievement. At its best.

And, I can only imagine that as our little Mia grows and becomes more aware of her world, her adoration for Sammie B will match Sammie's of her.

This life has ups and downs. This life (and ours) has challenges. But at the end of each day, there's no where I'd rather be than in my little home with my little family. With my husband and our two girls. With toys and traces of pink (little pink socks, shoes, you name it) strewn about. Sharing in the "minute simple moments" as we find our way as a family of four with whatever circumstances life throws at us.

And finally, I'm thankful that we have an amazing support network of friends and family. For the two sets of grandparents, who love and adore our girls, and who learn from sweet Sammie B just as we are. Who love her just as she is, and who celebrate her achievements just as we do. I'm thankful for those friends along this journey who we've never even met in real life. For everyone that follows this blog, the moms from my web group, people who have never laid eyes on us in person, yet cheer our girl on non-stop. For all of my girl's fans (and we know there are many!). For your support and for all of the "cheering" you do, thank you.

To my little girl in lavender glasses, who wins the hearts of all she meets, and who is teaching her parents, grandparents, friends, family and others valuable lessons along the way, thank-you. My magical, sweet, amazing, wonderful Sammie B.