Sunday, August 29, 2010

Jesus Will Meet You There

It's been a LONG time! I went through a period of discouragement where I just didn't want to write, and then when that passed, I just felt overwhelmed at "catching up." But I had to write today...

A brief update on our girl: Elli continues to slowly progress. She has learned new words, but we still don't have much "back and forth" communication. Elli echoes words we say, or will answer the question, "What do you want?" with (usually) one-word answers, but that's about it. She will say "Yes, please" (more like "yuppies") or "no" and that is a huge blessing. Music continues to be a source of much joy to her, and she knows all the words to probably about 100 songs! She has even progressed to where she will sometimes let us sing with her-- not often, but it does happen. She has begun to pick out a few tunes on the piano and spends a lot of her time sitting there playing her tunes.

Along with these good things are of course new struggles. She has gone through a feeding aversion thing where she will chew food but just can't seem to get herself to swallow it-- so she'll swish it around in her mouth and then spit it all up. Fun. Many foods that she used to love she will now refuse to eat. This is getting better as of late, but has been a huge struggle. She also is having more screaming tantrums-- I think often just because of her limited ability to communicate. Once she finally calms down, which can take a great deal of time, we usually ask her to say "sorry." Yesterday something very monumental happened. She was screaming her head off at something and I went to try to help her for the fifth or so time and I was completely frustrated. I said, "Elli, you need to stop! You are making me crazy! You need to use your words!!!" I said this not thinking she really understood what I was saying-- but she must have at least understood my exasperation because she immediately stopped and said, "sorry!" with no prompting. I was so excited!! I picked her up and told her that it was ok and that I loved her and we proceeded to have the sweetest time together. It felt like such a huge step in communication.

But what I really wanted to write about occurred a few nights ago. Elli woke up screaming and raging and I went down in her room to try and comfort her. Nothing was working and she was MAD. I finally turned a CD on, and the song that was playing was "Jesus Will Meet You There." I've mentioned before that the line in the song, "when sunlight comes and your world is still dark , Jesus will meet you there," always makes me think of Elli. As I laid next to her and thought about the trials that her life holds for her, I started to say a prayer. It wasn't out loud-- I was just praying in my mind. I was pleading for Jesus to meet her in the dark place she was in and to bring her some form of comfort. As I came to the end of my prayer, Elli stopped screaming and choked out the words, "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." I was caught off guard, as I hadn't been praying out loud-- yet she somehow knew I was praying. Then her sobs turned to giggles and she started saying over and over, "Jesus, Jesus." I hugged her and loved on her and within a few minutes she was sound asleep.

I had entered her room exhausted and frustrated, but I left a completely different person. It was such a tender experience to share with my sweet Elli. I know she is loved TREMENDOUSLY by our Savior, and I feel so blessed and humbled to be her mother.

I have a new resolve to keep up with this blog so that I will always have a record of these miracles and of the ways Elli has blessed our family.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Saddest Sound

Perhaps the saddest sound in my world is the sound of Elli crying. I'm not talking about her grunts and growls, her unhappy shouts, or even her angry wails. I'm talking about the times she is earnestly and quietly sobbing. It absolutely breaks my heart. Very few of her sounds are traditional communication, and she often makes sounds indicating she's unhappy with whatever is going on around her. (She also often makes sounds of great joy-most frequently unintelligible words sung to the tune of her favorite children's songs and sung at the top of her lungs. It's really cute.) But occasionally she quietly cries and has tears stream down her face. This engenders such a tenderness in my heart towards her. What is going on in her dark little world? What unmet need is causing her this sincere heartbreak? When she is feeling this way, she generally won't respond to questions like "What do you want, Elli?" So there's not much you can do to comfort her other than hold her and sing or talk to her. Last night she felt this way as I put her to bed. I tried to comfort her, and after awhile, she did seem to feel better. I just wish that she could explain what's in her heart.

This morning when she woke up, she was still somewhat in this mode. When I asked her if she wanted oatmeal, she just whimpered. I asked her if she wanted curry (leftover from last night-one of her favorites!) she still whimpered. Then, she sang the first bars of "Frosty the Snowman" in a a choked up, quavering voice. So I rocked her and sang Frosty the Snowman. When I was done, I again asked her if she wanted oatmeal or curry. She repeated her tear-stained request for Frosty, so I sang it again. Oh to know what unmet longing was stirring her soul. Why did this particular song bring her peace? I truly look forward to the day I can meet her after the resurrection. When she will have a mind that functions properly and eyes that can see. I believe we will have some great conversations and some wonderful hugs!