I did a lot of writing this week. A lot more of my personal writings and projects. So tonight, forgive me if I am a bit short. Next week I will be happy to report on several new things that will be coming Scar’s way. For now, accept this gem. Because no matter how short, every milestone is a diamond to me. I am the richest woman alive because of my daughter.
Scar sat for two hours last night and had dinner with my friends and I. We sat outside on a busy corner at a neighborhood restaurant. She behaved, for the most part. She said hello to everyone and showed so much joy in seeing the people she loves. And she laughed. So much giggling. She played with a cute pup. She let me get up and go in and out of the restaurant for things and did not freak out about me leaving her with friends. The joy in her face when seeing Aunt Liz after a month or so was heart-melting. And her exposure to new people was wonderful, trying to engage, even though you could tell she was a little awkward at first. She saw her first set of identical twin girls and the confusion was priceless. I knew she was having a genuine good time. She was not overstimulated. She was not screaming or crying. She was not getting antsy. She was enjoying her life.
Today, she came up to me and said a full sentence, recounting the dinner. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. I have had to do that a lot lately. That is how much that dinner meant to her. I am so happy I am comfortable doing that with her now. Not that I never took her to a restaurant. But usually it is with grandma or nana and it is a little more subdued than a busy street corner on a Monday night.
When I look back at the last six months of our lives, I can’t believe how far we have climbed. I had a frightened child who couldn’t tell me what she needed, when she was in pain, how she felt. I was a terrified single mother, searching desperately for the keys to unlock her mind. In the beginning, it was sheer chaos. No sleep, so many tears, I searched frantically. I was covered in bruises, bite marks, and scratches, all from her when she would reach her peak. We had no idea how to curb any of it. I never imagined the scene from last night. I was afraid I could not go anywhere ever again.
I finally have the keys, with the help of supportive friends, amazing teachers, and my unwillingness to give up on every possible avenue. Today I have no bruises, no bite marks. My tattoos are not scratched up. She has exhibited less and less injurious behavior with each meltdown she does have, which are less and less. She is learning how to stim (flap, jump up and down, etc.) to control herself when things become too much. Sometimes that also manifests itself in her need for all things sensory (chews inedible things, screams just to hear herself scream, rubs ketchup all over her arms). I prefer these things to the meltdowns. I welcome all of the screams and the ketchup on her clothes. And those behaviors will continue to improve with her therapy.
I use the keys everyday and open up more and more of her brilliance. I find more doorways, more windows, more gates. I store them in my heart when she sleeps.
I was on the phone with a friend tonight who could not believe the milestones she has hit, as he has been out of state for some time. I promised Uncle Zac I would get a video of her getting on the school bus. I told him I was going with her on her first field trip. Sometimes I can’t believe I am saying the things I am saying. Sometimes I can’t believe I am having a conversation, no matter how small, with my angel. Hearing her make her own sentences still catches me off guard (and for now, I kinda enjoy that feeling I still get each time).
These keys, they are part of me now for the rest of my life. And when I become part of the stars again they will go with me. By then, Scar will have her own set of keys. I am going to stick around as long as possible to be sure of that.