I'm back after a long vacation while family was here. I'm sorry for the stall in posting, but I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season and a fantastic start to 2010!!
I have a lot of catching up to do and that means a lot of posting. That said, I'm going to try to focus on the important things and will get to everything when I do!
First things first.
If you've been reading this blog for very long, you know about my gorgeous and amazing Abbi girl. She is a joy and shows me everything incredible and beautiful that I would miss were it not for her presence in my life. She keeps me in awe every single day and I know I am the luckiest mother in the world to have her and Anna.
Still, there are struggles, because of her Autism and developmental delays... struggles that have nothing to do with HER, but with the Autism/Sensory filter through which she has to experience the world around her. A lot gets lost in translation and that can make it tough.
She is mostly non-verbal. She had a huge language burst this last fall when she started using a communication device we had on loan (we are trying to get a permanent one for her). The growth was phenomenal for her. 30 words in so many days, both verbally, and on the device. That more than doubled her previous vocabulary. AMAZING!!
The words were mostly functional things like "this," "drink," "play," etc. It opened so many doors, but still kept one shut... relationships. Because of her Autism she likes to stay mostly in her own world, with precious brief visits into ours.
Sure we have our moments, where she looks in my eyes, or sits on my lap and and snuggles, like this beautiful experience she had with my mom when she was here.
I love her more than my own soul, and even though she can't tell me she loves me, we have silent conversations like this as often as she is able.
Still, most of the time there is a wall between us that keeps me from being able to build the kind of bond with her that mothers so often crave with their children where I know SHE knows that I love her and would do anything for her. I wonder sometimes if she craves the opportunity for more too. It can be hard sometimes wondering if your child views you more as a caregiver rather than the comforter, nurturer, and mommy that envelops that deep connection that goes beyond anything external. Some days I swear I do nothing but get snacks, change diapers, and fix things for her. Some days she just doesn't want interaction, and I have to respect that.
After 8 years I was really concerned I may never be able to have that with her, like I do with Anna, and it breaks my heart because it is something I so very much want to share with her.
But then... completely out of the blue on Christmas morning... she called me Mom.
She called *me* mom. Not anyone else. Its not just a "word" - it means something. I'm her mom. She knows it. She knows who I am to her and she called me by name.
She did it again and again, and now... anytime she wants me or needs me she calls "Moooom" just like any 8 year old should and I come running. I come running and hug her in a big squeeze, which she loves, and I soak it in. I can never get tired of hearing that.
And I can't think of ONE better Christmas gift than that.