Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


Every Day

She blows me away. Every single day. Everything about this child leaves me breathless. Her beauty. Her spirit. Her strength. Her will. Her heart. I love her so much. So very much. When I looked up from the table this weekend and saw her standing there in our RV she took my breath away. Our baby has disappeared and in her place this little girl showed up and I'm not exactly sure at what moment that happened. I just know that it did.

She took 30 steps Friday morning. 30! Oh, I realize she needed help, but she lifted her little legs, and bent those knees and new just exactly how to put one foot in front of the other for the first time in her life. She cried, and cursed and complained with huge tears falling from her eyes, but she did it. She walked those 30 steps with her therapist's thumbs on her hips, her daddy's hands holding tightly to hers, and her mommy cheering her on and encouraging her to catch up to me the whole way. Dave and I were completely overwhelmed by her strength and her determination.

Ash is well. She is more than well. She is stronger and better than she has ever been and I am so thankful.

Not too long ago I was visiting with an acquaintance whom I don't see that often and she made this statement. "So she's an infant. She'll always be like an infant. Right?" The sting from those words has yet to lessen. I had never, ever thought of Ashley's life in that way. Never. I know it must have sounded like that when she learned that Ash did not walk, did not talk, did not eat, and had not been potty trained. I guess technically she was right, but the way those statements caused me to catch my breath still to this day pains me. What do you say to that? I had no words. Nothing. Just a struggle to continue breathing and hold back my tears. It caused me to think far into the future and try and picture what she was saying to me. At 4, completely dependant on me. At 14? At 24? At 34, 44, 54? No. No should have been my answer. No she's not an infant. No she's not. She's a little girls. An amazing, wonderful, miracle of our God wrapped up in her four year old little body. She's not an infant.

Over the weeks since that conversation I have watched my daughter. Watched her closely. An infant forever? No. I believe in her. I see her learn and grow each and every day. She is moving all about the house. Independently. She is getting into things every day. She leaves her room and heads down the hall. Exploring new doorways, peeking around them to see if she's interested in going in or keeping on toward our room. She's started coming from her room into the family room. She escapes her therapy room and scoots across the foyer just as fast as she can. She express her wants and her needs through sign. Everyday she learns more and more signs. Completely on her own. Just this week? Pretty and water. Out of no where they came. She is so smart. So very smart. She won't be dependant on us forever. I just don't believe that. One of these days all of the pieces of information inside of her brain are going to connect and she's going to figure life out. I just know it.

I am so honored. So very blessed to have a front row seat. I get to experience each and every moment of her life right next to her, and I have to say that the world through Ashley's eyes is a beautiful place. More beautiful than it ever was before her. The everyday things I once never appreciated? I have the most amazing awareness of how special it is to feel the wind blow in your hair just by watching her eyes sparkle as her pony tail blows in the breeze. The rain has never felt so incredible as it has after watching her scrunch up her nose from the drops falling on her face. Listening to the birds sing is a whole new experience as she sits on my hip as we go down the front walk. She signs for me to "shhh, listen". "Birds" she signs. So I be still and I listen and I see the smile come across her lips and I have whole new appreciation for the world and all that is in it.

Every day. I love her more and more every day. Its a very special place to be. Next to her. Every single day.


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