If you know me, or know my kid Taylor, or used to read my blog back when...you know my 2nd daughter - aka Tater Tot or Tate - has SPD. Sensory Processing Disorder. She is 7, and was diagnosed at 3 years old after 3 years of WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS KID?! Seriously - an ENT, allergist, x-ray, numerous doctors and therapists didn't know. Some said nothing, some said autism (including one psychiatrist), some said she was just a mad girl...but mama knew. I knew she had something wrong, but everything that we were told just wasn't "it." After a free seminar about sensory disorders, BAM, here we go. I found the seminar, at Sensational Kids right here in Marlton, after googling "behavioral help for toddlers." I listened to a woman describe kids that were just like Taylor and as I cried tears of gratitude that "it" had a name, I remember feeling overwhelmed, scared, thankful, sad. All I wanted was for my kid to be happy and healthy. I wanted her to have friends, be kind and gentle hearted, love God and serve others. I wanted her to marry and have children and let me babysit and sometimes we could leave the kids with their dad and go shopping. Sitting at that seminar, I didn't get that far ahead but I felt like my heart - which had been hanging in limbo kind of waiting for her to snap out of it I guess - broke a little. I wondered what this meant for Taylor.
If you're not following along because of the million different emotions I was feeling at one time - well, what can I say. I'm a woman and I'm a mother. Welcome to complicated.
Anyway, fast forward through 2 years of special education preschool, private therapy and therapy in school, fast forward through special ed kindergarten and an inclusion class for first grade, fast forward through teachers and therapists that I will forever be indebted to and love, fast forward through a sensory "diet", hours of prayer and teaching Taylor "the long way" how to love others and be compassionate, patient and sweet...fast forward and here we are.
She rocks my world, friends. Rocks it. If you know her, you know what I mean. If you don't know her, you're missing something amazing.
Last night as I tucked Taylor in - which used to involve brushing her body with a special brush to desensitize her and singing her no less than 11 lullabies (seriously, in the same order every time) to calm her - my baby, my Tater Tot, clutched my arm and said, "You're a good mother" as she looked into my eyes.
Today, at the aquarium for a class trip (which previously she would have been totally stressed over with the noise, smell, different routine etc) she skipped with the other kids and held her best friend's hand. She ate at the table and offered to share.
These moments are hard won. These moments are precious.
These moments make the other moments - and of course there are still the OTHER moments - worth it.