Each day brings new things to be thankful for---and new challenges for both Dale and myself. Yesterday, Dale went to SP. On the way, he said, "I don't want to go to physical therapy." I replied, "We're not; we are going to speech." After a few minutes he said, "I don't want to go to speech." I explained how much speech therapy is helping him improve his vocabulary and voice longer sentences and such. He seemed to accept that, staying silent for several long minutes. Then came the sweet sounds of "But I speak fine." Oh, thank You, Lord, for allowing my boy to regain his speech to the point of being able to say, "I speak fine." This is actually what I have (recently) been praying for: that Dale would recognize his abilities and begin to wonder why he has to attend therapy sessions. I have been careful to explain to him in basic terms the accident he had at the beach and how it affected his brain and body, trying to help him see his need for continued therapy. (He'll go whether he agrees or not, but I believe he'll continue to work hard at each session if he personally sees the need and increased benefits.) After his "mouthing off," I told him that he should tell Lisa (SP therapist) that; he grinned and said, "No, no, no!" Of course, I did tell Lisa on him, and he got to grin some more at her offended sniff. She was just playing along!
THEN---She finished up with Dale some of the tests she had begun last Friday. At the end of one set, she had Dale use certain phrases in a sentence. He did really well and even got a little sassy with her. She gave him the phrase "even though" to use in a sentence. Dale thought for a moment, then began to grin. I asked him, "What are you going to say?", having seen that expression before. Dale's sentence was "Even though I already said sentences, you are making me say more!" The little snot! He was very pleased with himself over that one---and so were we. The next phrase was "as a consequence"; Dale's sentence was "If I don't do my chores, I get punished as a consequence." (Who says his memory is faulty?!) Lisa countered with "As a consequence of making you say sentences, you can speak more easily." Even Dale had to acknowledge that was true.
Dale scored pretty well on the speech tests. He scored right in the average range for speaking longer sentences and following instructions. He scored in the low average range for understanding how words relate to each other (like "water/fluid" and "hot/cold") and grammatically forming sentences correctly. Did I even put that right? This sounds better: forming sentences that are grammatically correct. Maybe I need SP therapy! Overall, she was pleased with how well Dale is progressing and now has new goals for Dale to work toward. I am thrilled with the progress and improvements that I can see just in the last month, and it is obvious that Dale loves being able to express himself.
Oh---Dale told me another joke. What did five say to six? Seven eight (ate) nine!
Dale had PT this morning, and he got to tell his first joke to the therapist. She loved the "fungi" punch line. Dale was shaky again getting up this morning, but that is partly due to his not going to bed until nearly ten o'clock last night. Amanda, Katie, and I stayed after church to help set the stage for the school Christmas play which is tomorrow, so Chad took the other three kids home with him. I assumed that he would put them to bed......silly me! When we walked in the door at 10:15, my two youngest girls were still sitting on the couch, watching some show on TV; they informed me that Dale had just gone to bed. I, being the gentle, submissive wife that I am, very kindly and lovingly explained to my dear husband that the children have a bedtime during the week of 9:00 p.m. and that this bedtime is set and observed so that everyone gets the proper amount of sleep to awake refreshed and eager to begin a new day. (And, if you believe that, I've got some lakefront property in the Sahara to sell you!) Soooooo, everyone was rather tired this morning when Mom came around, waking everyone up and dragging them out of bed to get ready for school. Once Dale got going, though, he seemed to perk up a bit. ***GRAND ANNOUNCEMENT*** Today, for the first time since August 5, 2011, Dale put on both socks and both tennis shoes by himself! (I had to tie them for him, but that's beside the point.) And, for the past few days---in fact, ever since his seizure spell on Monday, he has been walking down the stairs with ease, needing only my hand to hold and taking each step at a time. His PT therapist noticed this today, commenting on how much improved Dale is over the last time she got to be with him. Dale has two PT therapists who work with him, but the other one gets more time with him than the one today. He worked hard in PT, accepting challenges and not crying once even though he stumbled a few times. Just a few weeks ago, if he stumbled or felt scared, he would cry. But not today! Dale tried one thing after another, taking short (60 second) breaks in between activities. He worked steadily for the full hour and left cheerfully, knowing he had done his best.....and knowing he had nothing else scheduled for the rest of the day. So we came home and he played computer games for a while before lunch.
I mentioned that there are new challenges for me. I have to purposely hold myself back from doing everything for Dale. He does not need that, neither will it help him. Not until Chad put Dale to bed the past two nights (insert small frown here) did I realize I've been doing too much for Dale at bedtime. Chad told me, "Dale took off his uniform pants, put on his sweats, took off his shoes himself." I didn't know he could put on his sweats and take off his shoes by himself! So, this morning, I let him try putting his own socks and shoes on and voila! I've already backed off in the bathroom, which is good for Dale. When we approach the van, Dale opens the sliding door, climbs in, pulls his seatbelt around and fastens it, and closes the door all on his own. I've learned to stand back and watch, ready to help if needed but keeping my hands firmly at my sides otherwise. Dale dresses himself in the mornings; I only help if his shirt gets stuck or his zipper won't pull up. This morning, when coming out of the bathroom, Dale got upset with me. I was in his room, sitting on the bed, waiting for him to come out so he could get dressed. Dale opened the bathroom door and said, "Mom! I need help!" I rushed out into the hall---only to find him standing in the bathroom.....just fine. I asked, "Why do you need help?" He shrugged his shoulders. He didn't really need help---he had finished up fine; he just wanted me nearby in case there was a problem. I gave him a bit of an exasperated look (after all, he had caused a significant jump in my heart rate), but inwardly I was pleased that he spoke up when he wanted something.
In this month of rushing around, preparing for the church Christmas cantata, the school Christmas play and program, the teen Christmas banquet, Christmas General Store at church for the elementary Sunday school kids, planning activities for Christmas break from school, and addressing a million Christmas cards---stop. Take a moment each day......just a moment because you may not have more.....or you may choose to forgo this advice if I asked for ten whole minutes!......and thank God for being Him. He is Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Thank Him for the greatest gift of all, the most amazing gift anyone could ever give or receive......His Son, Jesus. God the Father could have said "No"; He could have said, "I won't give My Son. I won't give that gift. You'll just waste it anyway." But, instead, He said, "Yes." Fathers, think for a moment. What if someone was dying and their only chance to live was if your son donated his heart---but he had to die to do so. Would you be willing to allow your son to die so that someone else might live? Mothers, imagine for just a moment what it must have been like for Mary. She was so young, so pure. I don't mean she was sinless, just fully dedicated to serving God no matter what. She gave birth to her firstborn son, knowing He was only hers on loan from God the Father. She knew she would one day watch Him die for the sins of the world. This sounds so noble, but, in reality, Jesus' death was excruciating, humiliating, horribly painful, and in the end agonizingly alone. Could we as mothers stand at the foot of the cross as Mary did and willingly let our son die for a world who didn't care, didn't want Him? God.....Father, Son, Holy Ghost.....paid an immense price for our salvation. Please don't let His gift go unnoticed in the whirlwind frenzy of "Christmas"; stop and thank Him for His gift, for His love, for His goodness, for His care, for all He does, for all He is. He is Jehovah, the Great I AM. He is all we truly need.
John 3:16 - 17 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."