Stepping Out of Her Comfort Zone

Just a heads up before I begin. This is going to be a long one. She’s really stepped it up this last week. Let’s try a day by day here through this morning. We had UPS and we had downs. But we got through it all.

9/9/2014 (aka last Tuesday)

She stepped way out of her comfort zone. She REALLY wants to do the play in school. She loves to do drama as in acting. It’s a new teacher and speaking in front of people can sometime inhibit her. Yet, here she scheduled and didn’t tell anyone that she was going to audition until she had. And we are proud of her for that. But there was an overshadowing in Em’s mind to this stepping out of her comfort zone and pushing herself. However well that was, she didn’t understand what the teacher was going to do (listen and take notes, sometimes ending the audition before you are done) and then there were high schoolers that came in that distracted her with their loud and teenage ways. She came home thinking that the teacher hates her and that she isn’t going to get a part.

We tried hard to sooth Emelie. Christian auditioned to. He’s done the plays before so he knows the process and tried hard to calmly explain to her the process. That was after we had tried to reassure her to the best of our abilities. It didn’t matter. She was done. At that moment anyway. Em had a full onset meltdown. She screamed at Christian. I was driving to get Matt and she hung up on me after yelling at me. Twice. She finally curled up into a ball and passed out.

I woke her up and asked her about homework. She calmly answered me but there is an edge to her voice. She’s on the edge. So the goal then becomes to get through the night without another meltdown. In the end she did have another one. But she went and regrouped. Eventually returning to us and explaining she gets it. If she gets a part, she’ll be happy. Disappointed if there isn’t a speaking line, but she will accept it.

So many baby steps that day. I felt like an emotional yoyo. Up. Down. Up. Down. But we worked through it and survived.

9/10/2014

The play was weighing heavily on her. We took a few steps back. It was a repeat of the yoyo dance from the night before but it came to a head (meltdown) much quicker and resolved itself in the end in the same manner; this time her resolve came with more conviction from Em that she will be ok with whatever happens when the results are posted on Friday.

9/11/2014

A day of reflection for so many reasons. Em was pretty quiet and didn’t do too much. We also didn’t push her too hard. But Matt and I spent the night reflecting on one huge milestone with Em.

In looking back, Matt and I try see Em through two sets of eyes. Ours and yours. We try to look at how our life is from an objective point of view to share observations with you. And then we look at our lives from our family perspective. It’s hard sometimes to not want to scream and shout and be objective but it has helped us in helping Em make choices that are best for her in the long run.

Example: She never used to “hang” with us. She used to stay in her room all day every day. She wouldn’t interact with us or others. (Sometimes she still does) Now, she sits on the couch and even if she’s not interacting socially with us, she is near us. Sometimes we can discuss things that are bothering her. Sometimes we discuss concerns we have. BUT that door is at least cracked open. Otherwise, it felt like we were intruding on her space and time.

Sometimes the only communications we get from her are messages via chat/text. Or drawings. Or body language. But she is there. And we are finding ways that she communicates with us may be varied but she does send us messages. We just have had to learn to be receptive to them.

9/12/2014

Lovely Friday. I had a really frustrating evening. I ended up having to have the van towed to our mechanic and it was very expensive. My parents picked Matt and Christian up from work. They drove a little over an hour away from their home to make sure the boys would get home safely. They stayed the night since I worked Saturday.

Christian was really excited. He got one of the lead parts in the play. We got to talking about the play. He’s very excited for both him and Emelie. He picked up on 1 of the parts Em has that she didn’t realize. She has some small parts. She’s “extras” and it appears one of her characters has a few lines.

When I called Em about the van, she was more worried about me. Poor mommy she tells me and then proceeds to tell me not to cry. I was so cold waiting for the tow truck I asked her to just talk to me and tell me about her day. She was so happy about her parts. She was telling me about the people she knew that also got parts. She told me she was hungry and wanted to know if she could have some cake.

Being as I wasn’t home and she was being self sufficient for a change I told her yes. Lesson here: Specify how much. She ate about half a pan of pineapple angel food cake. She told me about her day and kept telling me not to cry, that everything was going to be ok.

Overall, it turned out to be a great day for her and Christian. My parents were able to help. And Matt was calm. I on the other hand was an emotional wreck. I was and am so drained. I just keep holding onto my faith and know God is watching out for us. And whatever happened to my van, happened for a reason.

9/13 and 9/14/2014

Saturday was a low key day for the kids. I went to work (via my parents) and Matt ran to the library. We went to get the van after I was done with work. From there my parents went home and we spent the rest of the day just all of us (well Matt, Em and I) resting and watching some comedies. Christian went to work but they are so supportive of him in the play. I love his coworkers and bosses.

Em looked at her homework a bit on Saturday but she needed that mommy and daddy time. She soaked it all up. We watched Mom’s Night Out (TOTALLY CAN RELATE TO THE ONE MOM ~ Sean Astin’s character’s wife) and I laughed and I cried. I’m glad we can watch new releases through our library.

We then headed for bed. Sunday was a big day. A potluck at church. And Em is happy there. REALLY happy there. Her Sunday School teacher is a guidance counselor for a neighboring school district but proved to me today, she gets Emelie. We got to church as it was starting but it was packed as they were celebrating a milestone in how many years the church has been there. They boys were helping in some older church member so Em and I went in to get seats.

Before the boys got in our pew was full and there was room for one, sort of. Her Sunday School teacher asked if she could sit there and we told her sure. (Em was ok with that) and by the end of the song her teacher looked at Em and looked at me (now mind you the boys are now sitting 2 pews behind us) and she leaned over and told me she thought Em would feel more comfortable with some extra room so she was going to move up a few pews. She knows Em’s diagnosis and it was exactly what Em DID need.

Em asked Christian to sit next to her so poor Matt sat by himself but Em found solace and comfort in the mass of humans surrounding her by this strong strange brother of hers. After church we went to the potluck and BINGO. Several church members reached out to her specifically KNOWING her diagnosis’ and found a connection. One woman, Sharon, told her that her grandson is 17 and has Autism and she loves him so much and she is going to love Emelie all that much too.

The president of the congregation ended up sitting at our table and noticed that she had eaten so little. He asked if she’d like some of the chicken and gravy without a bun. Em’s eyes lit up and she said she would. OMG Not only did she eat it, SHE LOVED it and FINALLY smiled at him. She then proceeded to eat TWO MORE ON THE BUNS.

We felt so much love and acceptance for us. For Em. For our little family JUST AS WE ARE. Em cleaned up in BINGO. She won FOUR times and Christian won three times. Em had held it together so long. She slept all afternoon once we got home.

There were some bumps in the road regarding school homework in the evening but we worked on them and Em finally just seemed to “crash” for the night. No MAJOR meltdowns and even when Christian took her out for a “date” (dinner) she was polite and when she couldn’t handle it anymore asked to go sit in the van.

Then there is today! She got herself up and in the shower without too much complaint and she was in a very good mood. Even though we are dealing with some issues regarding some accomadations right now, she knows we are working towards a resolution.

Each day is a new day. A clean slate. An opportunity to grow and push forward. To continue down a path that brings her closer to a new routine. It’s not going to happen overnight. Nor are some things going to ever go away completely. We love her just as she is and she pushes herself far more than we could ever.

This. This last week. That’s all her. It’s her setting her mind as to whether or not she was going to do things or not. It was all about her showing us what she wants, expects, needs and doing her best to tell us however she can as to what we can do to help her accomplish that.

Now that’s called, Stepping up. Stepping out. And making small progress in some areas and huge progress in others.

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