Reflections

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Or so penned Charles Dickens, anyway.

It’s the last day of 2014, and I am reflecting on all the events and happenings of the last year. Gracie had some major accomplishments—she became proficient at walking, when a year ago she could barely make it across the room. She has even been trying to run, although her gait is odd and straight-legged. Better still, lately she has been jumping—both feet off the ground, not holding onto anything, and landing without twisting ankles or breaking legs. These are major accomplishments for the kid we thought might never walk! She defies medical knowledge. Without peripheral vision and without input from her legs, she should not be able to walk, and yet she’s going farther and farther, getting more and more steady on her feet, and developing a more and more normal gait. She’s amazing.

Another major accomplishment happened on Christmas. Gracie wrote her name! It brings tears to my eyes to think about it. She has not been able to create representative drawings or write legible letters until very recently; I’ve always assumed she could not see well enough to translate the pictures through her hand. There’s also the possibility that the lack of sensory input prevents her from making the fine movements with her fingers necessary for writing and drawing. But, Amazing Gracie did it again. On Christmas, using a new notebook and pencil brought to her by Santa, Gracie wrote G-r-a-e. Okay, she forgot a letter, but for the first time ever writing her name it was impressive! Just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, she wrote it again—twice! I’m so proud of her. I have never even seen her write a G correctly before; usually they are kind of upside-down sixes. She has that G down now, though, and a few more letters to boot.

The year had its downside, too. That whole business with Gracie’s special needs school was just awful, and it still upsets me to think about the way they treated us. Every cloud has its silver lining, though, and we really like the public school Grace now attends. Plus, they can’t kick her out. Gotta love America—we really are lucky to live in a country where she gets proper medical treatment and will get a decent education.

I look forward to the new year with optimism. Who knows what kinds of things Gracie will be able to do by the end of next year—maybe she’ll be running normally, able to write the whole alphabet, closer to potty training, doing things I haven’t even imagined yet. The possibilities are endless. Go, Gracie!

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