Another day, and all is well at Camp Leo.
Our days are busy and slow all at the same time. School has started up for Sister Bear (1st grade, what the wha?!), and it feels like summer is coming to a close. Although Justin keeps telling me September isn't winter yet, I shouldn't freak, yet every changing leaf that falls is blown down by a bittersweet wind. Vermont summers are a flash in the pan. Brief, sometimes stormy, always glorious, and every second must be savored.
The horses know it. The grass gets sparse, and they slow down, picking and choosing their favorite patch, trying to make it last a little longer. They also look to us humans more, knowing that as winter rolls in, they will depend on us to keep them safe and warm. I can almost see them re-evaluate their relationships with each other, and with me. I like to call it the process of centering. It is a process of gathering all your bits and ends that got stretched out and forgotten during the often hectic summer, and making a tally of where you are. Where all your essentials are. To really find yourself in the space around you.
These last days of summer demand attention; they demand a slowing of our blind rush into the future. I have to remind myself constantly, these past weeks after Leo's terrible seizure, to take stock of every moment, to fully live in, and appreciate every minute that goes by. Why is it so hard to do? It feels so foreign sometimes, to just sit and breathe the cooling air, to become fully immersed in one task, to just smile at Leo's antics without acknowledging the ever present threat of seizures skulking at our backs.
Speaking of antics, Leo has really been developing some new tricks! It's that time of year for him again, when all the therapists and docs like to evaluate and label his progress. Last week he did that big eval at the development clinic at DHMC, during which he flirted, showed off, signed several words, and finally let everyone know when he was so "over it" and ready to go home. The doc was pleased with him and reported that he tracks more or less half a year behind and that by far his strongest piece is in his social and interactive development. No surprise there eh? He's always been good at wrapping people around his tiny finger... I suppose it came from lying flat on his back the first year of life in which he had plenty of time to practice his people skills! Here's the little dude telling us all about the latest gossip on the street...And with a full mouth at that! Didn't your mother teach you any manners boy?!?
Big sister does much to develop Leo's people skills too. She is pretty much the therapist numero uno.
In other areas, Leo has definitely shown progress, although he still is uneasy about walking. Recently he has started to stand up unassisted and hold himself up for close to 20 seconds, which is the baseline for balance required to take that first step. We are doing all we can to help him, but in the end, it will just have to be him, his balance, and his courage, to achieve that huge goal. I know he can, and I know he will, but it is hard to be patient. This week his PT introduced him to another way of getting around, and as you can tell, little man is digging it!!
He is learning new signs every week, and even saying a couple words. His speech therapist is pretty excited about his progress, as are we. Hearing "mama up" as opposed to "ahhh, AAHHHH!!" really is easier on the ears, and on the heart too, of course.
And our hearts are full, though there are those days when things feel frayed and fragile, where the fear looms right over my shoulder, and then the process of centering becomes not just important, but essential. I tell myself, and Justin tell me too, it's ok to be worried, its ok to be scared; those emotions are natural and if I fight them, try to shut them off, I will only end up fearing them, which multiplies them by ten. The highs and lows are normal, and it is only by acceptance, can we become truly centered in the middle, and in the middle is where peace can be found. Love to all of you, our faithful readers, and we pray that this fall, we will all find peace in successfully centering our souls.