We just moved a few weeks ago to a new home, in a new town. Her surroundings are very different. I was so worried about the transition living in an unfamiliar house, but she never skipped a beat. Talk about impressed. Children are resilient. However, it’s very different from what Faith had been used to. She no longer has a fenced-in yard with her own playground, but we now have a beautiful wooded lake and playground in walking distance. So we must make a few adjustments.
I’ve been re-training her regarding the ‘dos and don’ts’ of our new surroundings. I explain the usual warnings like all conscientious parents… don’t go outside alone, stay on the sidewalk, look both ways, etc. I also repeat the warnings in several ways as often as possible, because since Faith is non verbal, I’m never sure of how much she truly understands. We now live very close to the road in an old-fashioned, quaint neighborhood. It’s a one-way street, so you would think there’s not much traffic. There really is not… except the occasional car that runs a stop sign or goes 50 mph in a 20. I’ve turned into a version of the stereotypical grumpy old lady that rocks on her porch, shaking her fist, yelling, “Slow down!” And yes, I’m that mom who has already called the city asking that they install speed bumps. And why not? After all, I have a non-verbal, special needs child who is although smart, often unpredictable.
Then, it happened. The one thing I’d been worried about for weeks. Early in the morning my son, Matthew, Faith’s protective big brother, tore through the house, like a bat out of hell, running down the stairs, out the door, and down the porch, jumping off the end into the road to save his little sister. Faith had unlocked the door and was running down the middle of the street! I was asleep and by the grace of God, Matthew was up early and just happened to look out his window, which happened to be the direction Faith ran. Thankfully, she is fine. She was laughing when Matthew caught up to her and brought her safely home. He woke me and explained what happened. All I could do was hug her tightly and thank God she was unharmed. Matthew and I explained to her it’s dangerous to go into the road. We reminded her, as we had countless times before, never to go outside alone. As she sat on my lap, listening intently, her head down and her little bottom lip out, it was clear she knew it upset us. We asked if she understands and she signed ‘yes’ and gave us a thumbs up. Does she really get it? Will she remember next time to ask or get someone to bring her outside? Does she comprehend danger? I ask myself these questions every day. And because she’s non verbal, I just don’t know for sure.
Every day in my ‘Life with Faith’ is unpredictable. Some days she is very needy. Other days she’s independent and self-sufficient. Some days I think she has regressed, being homeschooled. Other days, she seems so smart and grown up. I worry all the time. I doubt myself. I wonder if I’m doing enough, explaining things properly and providing what she needs to learn and understand. Then I realize, everything I do in my life is to help both my children succeed and be happy. I learn from my mistakes and improve my strategies to do the best I can. So to all the other ‘Special Needs Moms’ out there, you are doing a magnificent job! Keep the ‘Faith’ 🙂