Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart


Through Ashley's Eyes

At the threshold of the storm

The world is a beautiful place through the eyes of our Ashley. She notices things, sees things, feels things, experiences things that I used to miss. I've learned how precious life is by viewing it through Ashley's eyes. I've been made of aware of the beauty that surrounds me through Ashley's eyes.

Last night a storm arrived outside our front door. Ashley had been sitting and playing quietly in the foyer. I noticed her "talking" about something, and when I turned around to acknowledge her I saw that she had moved over to the front door and was now lying down on the floor with her ear up next to the door. She was oohing and aahing and signing "rain, rain, rain". I opened the front door and her eyes lit up with excitement. She spent the first few moments excitedly "talking" about. Her excitement was so genuine and the joy on her face caused me to sit down on the threshold next to her and just enjoy the storm along with her. I wish I could put into words the moments we spent together sitting on the floor, but I can't seem to find words to describe those moments in my life. The storm was loud but no longer frightening. It was raining hard, but the harder and faster it came down the more beauty she seemed to find in it. The sky lit up with lightening and with each flash of light she would giggle with delight. I sat on the floor next to my daughter and I allowed myself to see the beauty that she saw and feel the storm as she was feeling it.

Inching closer to the storm. Now across the threshold and attempting to feel the rain.

After a few moments I stood up to grab my camera to capture this memory on film When I turned back around Ashley had moved out of the threshold and onto the front walk. I giggled as my girl reached out to touch the storm. Her little hands were stretched out in front of her to capture as many of the rain drops as she could.

Allowing the rain to fall on her. Experiencing the storm and all its wonder.

After a few moments she threw her had back, eyes up toward the sky, and opened her mouth to taste the storm. Such beauty I saw in that moment. She had a genuine appreciation for what was taking place all around her. The more she felt the rain, touched the rain, tasted the rain all around her the happier she became. I didn't dare move her back into the foyer. I allowed her to see the storm up close and personal because never in my 37 years have I ever met another who can find as much joy in such experiences as my Ashley. My heart swelled with thanksgiving for this little girl in my life and my eyes stung with tears. If only I could learn to live as my Ashley lives. Finding joy and appreciation in such things as the rain. Oh, I'm still learning from this child. Still growing.

As Dave pulled into the driveway with the older kids they all came running up as fast as they could to get out of the rain and it caused us to giggle when we realized how differently they were viewing the storm than Ashley was. They were trying to get out of it and trying to stay as dry as possible. Ashley was trying to get into it and trying to get as wet as she possibly could. So different! Its the world through Ashley's eyes that I want to experience. I want to enjoy the feel of the cold rain on my skin rather than hiding under my jacket trying not to allow one drop to fall on me.

We all spent the next little bit watching our sweet Ashley and enjoying her happiness. As Blake looked on at his little sister he said to me, "It looks like she's saying, Praise God for the rain, Thank you for this storm." Yes, with her arms outstretched toward the sky I just wonder if my little one was giving praise to her Creator. I'm sure He was finding joy as He watched one of His creation enjoying another aspect of what He had created.

The world through Ashley's eyes is amazing. It is exhilarating. It is precious. It is so simple, so basic, so sweet.

I know each of us will cherish the memory of watching Ashley Kate last night. As she enjoyed "her" storm each of us in our own way experienced it with her. Allie even grabbed her own camera to capture a video of her baby sister "catching" the rain in her tiny hands. It was one of the sweetest things I have witnessed in a long while.

Blake walked through the room on his way to bed last night and said to me, "I really love that little girl. I just do."

"Yes, Blake, I know you do. We all do." Thats all I could get out of my mouth as I choked back my tears. How will we ever take her back? How will we ever find the courage to do what had to be done? How will we ever survive if He chooses to take her out of our home and into His?

This morning as I walked Ashley past the front door and into her playroom her eyes looked at me and her little hands signed, "rain?".

Not today Ash, but I'll never forget what we were given last night. A glimpse of the world through your precious eyes. May I always remember the way you saw it.


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