Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


She didn't miss it

Last night I picked up our family laptop and when the screen came into view the page was on a list of of old video clips. I'm not sure who had been using the computer before I sat down too, but if I had to guess it would be our Allison. She tends to gravitate toward it a little more than the rest of us. I think its the whole ,"I'm a girl, who will be 13 in a few weeks, and spending all day with my friends in school is just not enough time to talk about all we have to talk about", thing. Just a guess. Anyway, as I clicked on the highlighted video a clip of our tiny, 15 month old, post transplant, Ashley Kate appeared sitting on the lap of her daddy. I know I've shared this clip in past years so you may remember the one I'm referring to. Anyway, as the video played on the screen I heard her speak in that tiny voice, "my mama" and my eyes filled with tears. I watched it several times and then called the boys over to see what I saw. Dave and Blake stood behind me, Blake's chin resting on the back of the chair and Dave's hand on my shoulder. We all stood there smiling so wide and goofy as we played the clip and watched and listened together. How precious. So priceless. That 40 second clip is all that remains of our little girls voice. Thank you God that we have it. Thank you so very much. As the clip plays I hear myself say, "Ashley, do you love your momma?" and her little head nods yes. I hear myself say, "Ashley, does daddy love you?" and she nods so emphatically, "yes". What joy swelled in my heart. What pain pierced though it too. As she nodded her head I could hear Blake laugh out loud as he stood behind me. This was something he hadn't seen in years and the joy it brought to him at that moment was priceless. Again, Thank you God for giving this piece of video to us.

I continued watching several clips of her from that time in her life and found myself crying as I said, "we missed it". I watched for quite a while thinking "we missed it all". All those things we use to lie in bed excitedly talking about her learning to do. We missed it. Then as quickly as the Holy Spirit can do I was reminded that we haven't missed a thing. Not one single thing. We have been there for it all. Every moment since the judge signed that order we have witnessed. How very blessed we are. I have seen her triumph over obstacles that people thought she never would. I have seen her grow up from that tiny baby girl into this beautiful five year old little lady. I have seen her learn to communicate in other ways than a single voice coming from her lips. I have seen her learn to walk, lose the ability, and then gain it again. I have seen her struggle against odds so big I thought they would crush her and yet she wins. Every time she wins! I haven't missed a thing. More importantly, neither has she. She didn't miss it.

Each and every day I witness Ashley Kate learn more and more and more. Her little mind soaks up the world around her and she grows in her life experience. She lives so fully, so intentionally, so beautifully. This child is amazing. So amazing to spend a day around. At first glance you may assume there are so many things she can't do, but within minutes you become astounded at all she does do. Not a day goes by that Dave and I are not reminded about all of her abilities. We are so grateful to have all that we do have in Ashley Kate. We are blessed beyond the world standards. We have been given a gift in Ash. She teaches us to overcome. We have learned to let nothing keep us from achieving the goals set before us. The big kids know there is nothing to big for them to accomplish because they have watched the tiniest one of us all fight back with a vengeance. Ash hasn't missed it. She hasn't missed any of it. Instead she is getting it. "Getting" so much more than I do in those rare moments when I find myself grieving over the loss of normal in her life.

This week Dave and I were finally convinced to purchase an Ipad for Ashley Kate. We watched the world of learning open up to many other children through its use. We debated for a while, but in the end I am so thankful we were able to provide this tool of learning for her. It wasn't purchased because its the new thing. It has nothing to do with being "with it". It is all about communication and learning. Through the years we have looked into communication devices and the prices are astounding. Not really affordable, but we were so willing to figure it out. This tool has changed all of that for us. Its affordable. Thousands of dollars less than the other devices we were looking at. Many, many families of disabled children are able to afford the Ipad. We are so grateful for this technology. Its going to change Ash's life. If you could see our girl maneuver her way around it you would be amazed. We have loaded it with a sign dictionary and tutorial. With writing programs and communication programs allowing her to answer questions with the touch of a button. It is so full of promise for Ash and we are so excited to watch her world open up even more before her eyes. Its been a blessing to us and we've only just begun to scratch the surface of all it will be able to do in Ashley's life.

So if you think about it, she didn't miss out on anything. My other kids don't have Ipads(although they would both LOVE to have them). Dave and I don't have an Ipad. I'm sure he might enjoy one(its not really my kind of thing). Ashley Kate is the only member in our family to own one and if you look at life through this lens then I think you would agree, she's not missed it. No, she's the only one of us who truly gets it. I have a lot to learn from this little girl of ours. Everyday, she teaches me something new. Like how to turn the silly thing on! Oh, how I love this child!


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