Over the past few weeks I’ve watched as Reagan has run to the car after school, pulling the door open, throwing her backpack and lunchbox in, then jumping in her seat proclaiming she had a great day. Almost every single day I hold back tears, I’m of course excited that she had a great day at school but it’s the independence of getting herself in and out of the car that has me welling up. It’s a normal act for most families, but it wasn’t for us until recently.
As I reflect on 2019, I see a lot of what is considered normal in our lives, for the very first time. I feel an immense amount of gratitude and pride and over all appreciation for the small things. I know we didn’t get her by chance, I know that we (mainly Reagan) worked hard and put in the time and effort for this payoff. I credit her commitment to the Ketogenic diet for the positive changes in her cognition, overall mood and seizure control. I commend her for not fighting me on going to summer school, attending intense therapy sessions and having a tutor for nine straight weeks. I am in awe of this person who is my child, and my hero.
I’ve watched as she has rejoiced in the normal activities that most children have been taking part in for years. She found a love in cheer leading, so much so she keeps asking when it starts back up. And I found driving to and from cheer practice and games is much less stressful than driving to and from therapies and doctors appointments. She found her voice, quite literally, learning how to sing on time with the words to the song. And I’ve found that even if we have to listen to the same song over and over, it has helped her belt it out. She found her strength, by jumping off the side into the deep end and back to the wall again. And I found, that no matter how many times I watch the video of said jump, I’ll still cry. She has found her independence, not just by opening the car door (with special thanks to a teacher at school who gave her the push), but by attending a play-date on her own and even suggesting she can walk down the street to the neighbors without me. And I’ve learned letting go is so hard, but also so necessary. She found a confidence through getting to be a kid, not a kid defined by her challenges. And I’ve learned that through challenges, we can rise up and be the best version of ourselves.
2019 will forever be ingrained in me as a year marked with change, positivity and normalcy. It will be the year Reagan opened the door to all the wonderful things yet to come.