Thursday, May 28, 2009

Finding Amy

It wasn't that I thought that this day day would never come, it was that I didn't think it would come so joyously.

When Amy started preschool this year, to say I was leery would be an understatement. People kept saying, "She'll be fine," and I agreed but I didn't know if "fine" was what we necessarily should be going for. After all, countless doctors told me she'd be "fine" and then ignored her. I've also heard that not only wasn't she fine, but that I wasn't either because this speech therapist "knew that I want this to be a hearing issue, but it's not." Yes, every parent wants their child not to hear. That f-word has been tossed out for her whole life as it should be the ultimate goal rather than just a place card to something better.

So she started on a 3-day a week schedule as opposed to her classmates five. We continued with her speech therapy on those off days, continued monitoring her hearing every other month and rather quickly she became accustomed to her days.

She never complained about getting up early (much), and she would proudly display all of the wonderful creations she'd make.

Then she began to talk about her day. Unprompted, she'd tell a little story about a classmate, or what they made in art. Nothing out of the ordinary for most, but so extraordinary for the girl who couldn't talk for so long. But even more than her reports was that it was evidence that she was enjoying it. She liked playing with kids her own age, and they understood her and didn't notice anything different. If there was a word that she'd stumble on or couldn't recall, it was her friends that translated and even that was decreasing everyday. Her progress reports were just that--showing her progress in so many unexpected ways.

By April, we all agreed that she was more than ready to go 5 half days like everyone else. Again, she responded so well. She was singing her ABC's, counting--all of the things you would expect in a preschool class--but happily. Without frustration.

And I guess that was the difference--no frustration. It's so hard to make your way through a day navigating between what you can hear, say and understand when everyone expects you to. And it's hard to be happy when you're just trying to make it to fine.

So yesterday's preschool graduation was so much more for all of us. She got a little diploma that said she was ready for Kindergarten, but that's not what makes her ready.

Her teacher commented afterward that she had never seen such a "joy-filled" child.

Finding Amy has been the most heart-wrenching journey that I have ever experienced--filled with self-doubt, non-stop fight and maternal gut-checks every minute of her five years on this earth. There have been some monsters along our path, but there have also been some heroes--those who recognized that to get beyond fine may not be by a path that any of us could name, but that it was worth exploring.

Because there was a beautiful, healthy and happy little girl waiting at the end.

Thank you, Amy for waiting until we got there.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Congrats to Amy and to you for helping her on her way!

Aunt Kathy said...

Once in love with Amy, always in love with Amy!
I love that little girl!

Anonymous said...

I cried "joy-filled" tears reading Amy's story. Thank you for such a nice story to end my day.