Everywhere I turn this week, we’ve got some improvements going on.
Mr. Andi sanded and stained our front porch columns as well as the matching “faux shutter” on the front of the house. Sarah Kate’s room got a facelift, as well – one bright pink wall painted to match the bedding and accessories she got for her birthday. It’s a much more grown-up look, complete with a giant canvas of Audrey Hepburn hanging above her desk. Soon, her hand-me-down furniture – it belonged to my aunt when she was a girl – will be getting a redo, as well.
It’s not just the tangibles that are being upgraded. Nathan’s communication skills have exploded overnight. After months and months of smiling in response to our signs, he’s doing them on his own, without prompting. He’s been drinking a lot of milk over the past few days – in large part due to the fact that he keeps asking for it using signs, and if he’s asking, I’m giving!
After ditching my PR attempt at the half marathon last month, I decided to take another run at it (pun intended) this weekend. My current PR is 2:23, set almost three years ago – before Nathan was even a possibility. Since I made this decision rather last minute, I haven’t had much time to train. I ran eight miles this weekend, targeting a pace just a hair faster than what I would need to PR. To my surprise, my legs wanted to go faster. If I’m able to run that pace for the full thirteen miles this Sunday (and that’s a BIG if), I’ll beat my PR by a full eight minutes.
Sarah Kate’s in on the action, as well. Despite our misgivings, we registered her for softball. Evaluations are tonight, so we all headed out to the park after dark yesterday so she could get a little practice in under the lights beforehand. Mr. Andi pitched, hit ground balls and pop flies, and even marked a spot in the grass as “first base” so she could practice hitting, dropping the bat, then running while he fielded the ball.
I’d be lying if I said that she was a good ball player. She can’t run, she lost her balance and fell several times while trying to field ground balls, and she had to be reminded almost every time to pull the bat around behind her. But she kept trying.
Sure, she swung and missed a lot. But she made contact a lot, as well, and when she did, it almost always produced forward motion – no foul balls for her. She dropped several pop flies, but she caught a few, too. Some of her throws were way off target, but a lot of them went (albeit slowly) where they were supposed to go.
When you have a child with a disability or a syndrome, you’re always on the lookout for improvement. Progress feels elusive much of the time – particularly when the child is young and his peers are developing at a much more rapid pace than he is. But the progress is there.
The same thing happens when you hit middle age (how can I have a baby AND be middle aged???) You feel like you’ve hit a plateau in life – you go to work (or take care of your home), you go to church, you do the laundry, you shuttle the kids around… It’s a comfortable routine, but it doesn’t feel like you’re getting anywhere. Your years of schooling are behind you, and your body just doesn’t quite work the way it did a few years earlier.
We can always make improvements, however. Things are sagging on my body that didn’t sag a few years ago. I’ve got wrinkles (AND acne – not cool!). I broke down and bought a pair of reading glasses a few months ago. The pooch I gained after my second C-section still hasn’t gone away, two years later.
But over the past year, I’ve developed two crafts that have benefited my soul. I’ve rekindled my love of photography, and I’ve documented my thoughts, my feelings, and the details of our lives through the writing I’ve done on this blog. Through writing and photography, I’ve made many new friends who share my passions, and those friends have added joy to my life.
Tell me what “home improvements” you’re working on these days.