Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


"She smiles everyday"

That's what her daddy said to me today at lunch. "Do you realize that she smiles everyday now?"

Its amazing. Honestly and truly amazing. We both were afraid, very afraid, that she had lost her joy, her happiness, her radiance for life forever. It was such an ugly time for us as we watched her deteriorate into a shell of unhappiness and discomfort. My heart hurt so bad over the loss of her smile that I didn't know how to describe it. The only person who truly understood what it felt like was Dave and between the two of us there was no need to even talk about it. I just remember lying in bed each night in the stillness once she had finally fallen asleep and wishing so badly for her good days to return. I cried most nights. I didn't know what else to do.

But now...things are different. She wakes up smiling. She stays smiling all day long. She lays down smiling and falls asleep with that smile on her face. Her eyes twinkle with all things ornery as she keeps us hopping all day long. I love that look in her eyes. I love knowing that she's dreaming up ways to keep me guessing as to what it is she's thinking of doing next. I love everything about this child.

We lost a lot of time with Ash over the last 8 months. Time that we can never get back, but she's making up for lost time. Just this weekend she threw out 3 new signs and has been using them daily ever since. One of them I had given up on just resigning myself to the fact that her stubborn streak was going to prevail and that she would never learn to be polite. She surprised me though giving me a renewed sense of hope that yes, I can teach this little lady to in fact behave like one. The sign "please" (even though she gets confused and mixes it up with "sorry") has brought me much encouragement in this area. She revealed to us that she knows the signs for bath, sorry, and please and that she can use them in context. Its absolutely adorable. She looks at the bathroom, signs the word "bath" and then promptly follows it up with the sign for "cry". It cracks me up! When her g-button is bothering her or a dressing needs changed she signs the word "hurt" to be followed with the sign "sorry". I've always talked her through her dressing changes and told her how sorry I was that it was hurting. So to see her sign "sorry" while the tears roll down her cheeks is actually a blessing. She is so bright and is learning from the things in her environment every single day. The sign "please" usually comes about when she is being too lazy to stretch, reach, or scoot close enough to a toy to retrieve it herself. She also uses it when asking to watch TV. Not even Blake can deny her this request and promptly gives up the ballgame to Wonder Pets or Blues Clues.

Life is amazing at our house. To watch our little girl smile each day is more than I thought we would ever see again. God is so good and its just so fun to be her mom and dad. We can't help ourselves. We're smiling a lot too these days.


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