Pictures of Progress

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

With all the madness surrounding the holidays and Bear's birthday and EI transition and IEP, a lot of things fell behind, not the least of which was managing photos.  I was sorting through some of the backlog today and it hit me these were taken a year to the day of his SPD diagnosis.  It was less than a month before he turned 3.

To the average viewer this may look like any other boy playing outside on any other day.

But what I see is so overwhelming it brought me to tears.  Because while this was just another random weekday in our hectic lives... looking back to the way things used to be, I can honestly say it's the kind of day it felt like we'd never get to have.

I see...

... a little boy who can tolerate a breeze on his skin, who asks for sunglasses instead of cowering and crying from the light, and who can now stand to wear those sunglasses.  (And who reaaallly appreciates the trampoline his Mawgie got him when Mommy and Daddy couldn't afford it!)

I see...


... a little boy willing to tolerate an unfamiliar textured ball, organized enough to create a game to play with it on the trampoline (it's called Kick Bounce!) and calm enough to pause for a photograph.

I see...

... a little boy who's social, emotional and communication delays made us sit on the fence for a year while his doctors debated if he was autistic pretending that his lawnmower is a race car, zooming joyfully around the yard while telling me about the imaginary race.

Reporting this emerging pretend play to his pediatric neurologist at his semi-annual appointment just a few days later meant the world to me, and the enormous smile on the doctor's face told me everything I needed to know.

My friends and family constantly make fun of me for always having a camera in hand.  Nobody wants to hear the truth - that it's so easy to get lost in how hard it is every day with Bear that I overlook the good stuff.  I started taking lots of pictures to help me remember that we really did have good times, and what, exactly, they were.

When you're exhausted and the house is a mess and you're rushing from speech to OT to preschool, it's really hard to notice - let alone appreciate - incremental progress. And it's sooo easy to get discouraged.  I'm happy that my camera addiction gives me wonderful surprises like this, because it shows me beyond a doubt all the hard work is worth it.