My Girl Abbey

My Girl Abbey
Mother's Day 2015

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Finding out your sister is disabled

Hi friends!  This summer was crazy and several of you have asked for a family and  "Abbey update."  First of all, I managed to develop two pre-ulcer spots in my stomach over the summer that caused me much grief!  After my first endoscopy, I had a blood pressure reaction and spent some time in the ER. Ryan was away with our youth group, and it was an extremely difficult month.  I made some major changes to my diet (no more soda...or regular coffee..or tomatoes), and started some medication that really helped.  I'm happy to say that as of two weeks ago, I am all healed up!  Thank you for your prayers and calls over the summer.  You have no idea how much I needed them.

In addition to that, we sold our house and are closing on that sale sometime next week.  What a whirlwind.  We were THRILLED to find a house in our town that is a short-sale, and has good accessibility for Abbey.  We are still waiting to hear back from the bank on that house, but will be in a transient state for at least a month.  All of our things are packed up in storage or at Ryan's parents, and we move our final things out this week.

Abbey is doing fantastic.  She did end up with pneumonia in September, but recovered well and is back to her sweet smile and disposition.  She continues to go to therapeutic riding and loves it.  School has been a welcome routine, and the teachers and staff there are amazing individuals.  She has made some good progress at school with the i-pad for speech, but still prefers to use sign language and gestures at home. This brings me to the topic for this post.

Our youngest son has just realized that Abbey doesn't talk, and at three and a half is very happy to do it for her.  For instance, the other morning he says to me, "Abbey would like a drink.....we want some chocolate milk."  The things that he says for her are so funny. If someone talks to Abbey directly, he promptly lets them know that she is disabled and can't talk. He makes an adorable moment out of something that was frequently awkward for me. He has become quite the interpreter! Occasionally I will catch him watching her intently...he will turn to me and say, "Abbey is disabled."  It's sinking in like it did with our older son and I know in the next few years the kinds of questions I will be asked.  But while he's still so young and innocent, this awareness provides many laughs and tender moments.

Yesterday the kids were in the living room while I was packing boxes and he came running in.  "MOMMY!  You bedda come quick!"  I asked him why and he describes in his adorable lisp how Abbey is "pretendin' to be the mommy and makin' a BIG MESS!"  I found her at the sink with a paper plate, plastic fork, and an empty yogurt  container she pulled out of recycling.  I was so proud of him for recognizing that she was getting into things she shouldn't, and how he came so quickly to get me.  The sweetest moments are when she is upset though.  He will come and tell me that Abbey is crying and why.The compassion and empathy he has for her are growing more every day.  It's amazing, when you think about it, that despite her lack of words, Abbey has grown to trust all of us to interpret what she needs, wants, and feels on a moment to moment basis.  Every day of her life will be spent leaning on the capable mind and voice of someone else to speak and act on her behalf.

I don't know about you, but there are times in my life when there just aren't words to describe what I'm feeling and my prayers feel like they are so empty.  It's in those times that I'm encouraged by Abbey to learn to trust the capable mind and voice of the Father God who is always acting on my behalf. Romans 8:26-27 says, "26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God."  She follows with enthusiasm, she trusts that we will meet her needs, she sleeps like a baby without worry or fear and yet has no voice at all.   I want to learn to live like that.  You can learn to live like that.    Knowing that the Spirit sees our hearts, with compassion and empathy, and goes to the Father to intercede for us can give us the strength we need to learn how to trust that the Spirit of God sees our weakness and knows how to interpret what we can't find the words to say.