Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Progress in His time

Lately Landon's had a season of progress!!  I'm so incredibly thankful, proud, bursting at the seams excited for him!  I'm so much more grateful for the steps he's making because of the past he's carried - the days in the NICU, the depressing prognosis, previous seasons in his life.  Tonight despite the absolute thrilling video I shared with so many that pray and encourage us, I reflected on the seasons of Landon's five years and what I've learned these five years.  Before I get into that - here's the video!  I stopped by school today to meet with his teacher and saw the little man wheelin' around the classroom!  

Forward, backward, one arm, both arms, wheeled himself in a circle and even straight towards me!  

Here's a few other videos of the progress he's making! 

He's supposed to be sleeping...but he's so vocal!  I remember wondering if he'd ever make a noise!

Landon playing piano along (and singing a little!) to Twinkle Twinkle in music therapy a few weeks ago!  He's intentionally hitting the keys when the therapist waits for him!  He's been making noise in pitch too!  

Can't you see how stinkin' exciting this is?!  The prognosis for a 23 week preemie is not very good; we knew it and heard it from the professionals many times.  But were comforted just as many times that God gave us these kids for a reason.  It's our job to care for them, love them, nurture them, teach them, encourage them - I didn't know all that entailed at the time, but we had signed up for the job.  

As Brennan, Brooke & Landon, especially, have gotten older, I've been able to see the seasons of their lives.  Not the developmental milestones, but Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 seasons...There's a time for everything.  Each season prepares us for the next; what we learn from God, our relationship with Him, how to navigate the circumstances that we experienced, etc.  

From that perspective, I can say, I'm thankful for the NICU season with Landon.  He was frail, we were young and didn't have much medical knowledge.  I was weak (in many ways and had to learn to depend on Him).  We had so much support from those that loved us (practical help, prayer, encouragement), learned so much medically, how to care for frail babies while surrounded by experts!  Of course there were experiences in that season, I'd rather erase or not have gone through - and I'm glad that chapter is closed!

Next, the trial run at home, his first 2 years.  He was still frail, we were still young but armed with the knowledge, confidence, tools and continued support.  He spent a lot of time still in the hospital, the other kids and rest of our family adapted, learned how to accept and ask for help when we needed it.  We tried to fit in developmental activities, therapy, etc between clinic appointments and hospital stays as best we could.  We practiced our advocacy, negotiating and flexibility skills working with professionals for Landon's best interest.  I grew as a parent, Christian and person.  I think we were still focused on survival, trusting our instincts and getting to know Landon.

The next season was a bit of a relaxing lull for him, he was pretty apathetic - was content with any activity and didn't show much drive or motivation.  We continued to figure him out; what he liked, didn't like, how he communicated, how our family operated (then added another kid to our mix!). Landon made slow developmental gains but that was alright for us, since his body was recovery so much medically!  Hospital visits were so much fewer but we were still operating on super speed so the lull was a bit hard to adjust to at first.  There seemed to be so much pressure to get therapies taught by age 3, so I needed to accept as a mom, that we did our best and he was happy.  It definitely took God's understanding to appreciate Landon's own timeline; accept that he'd continue to develop, just at his pace. There were points of progress that encouraged us along the way at seemingly just the times I needed them to not get discouraged.

Now, enter new season...age 5 and the three video's posted above!  Now we're in a season of change and development for Landon and I am ABSOLUTELY thrilled!  I do need to pinch myself, because it's hard to forget history and remember the previous seasons, especially the first 2.  Now his motivation is in overdrive and we're needing to incorporate that into our routine.  He's known to actually throw a bit of a temper tantrum if he wants something different!  Problem is, it's hard to know what that "something different" is, without trial & error or paying close attention.  I don't want to ride this season too long, or be too skeptical of the season.  Landon is doing fantastic, and I see this season as such a blessing!  Blessing to me and certainly a blessing from God!  

If you're reading this as a special needs parent, or parent in the NICU, I hope this is encouraging to you.  There's such a sense of new beginning once your child leaves the NICU, begins life at home, with or without medical professionals at home, entering school, etc.  It's been so helpful to have perspective and see times as seasons, not only where Landon started, but how he's progressed and how I've progressed throughout each season.  Thanks for sharing in Landon's excitement!