Finding Our Groove
Fourteen months home, and I would say just in the past month or so, things have starting settling down and feeling more “normal.” For that first year, it felt kind of like we were all strapped into a roller coaster holding on for dear life and being pleasantly surprised at the end of the day that we had survived. I have found myself breathing easier lately with an understanding that there is no way I’m going to be able to “do it all” and starting to figure out how to be ok with that. This new school year has required a big adjustment with all of Jian’s homework. She has to work twice as hard due to the English as a Second Language issue. I have been very careful to try to be casual about everything and do not even use the word “test” due to her anxious tendencies. Every Friday when she gets into the car, I say, “How was spelling?” And she smiles and says “Good!” She is reading so much better. She wants to be perfect at math (along with everything else), so I have to wait until she has rested when it is a good time to introduce a new concept or else she will just shut down and refuse to do it.
All of the time and energy required for homework has taken away a lot of therapeutic activities we could be doing at home. I have tried to cancel a lot of activities from our schedules. She still has her Chinese tutor who comes every Monday afternoon and speaks only Mandarin and cooks Chinese food, which Jian absolutely loves. We have started horseback riding lessons again for the fall term on Tuesdays, which Jian really wanted to do. On Wednesdays, she has physical therapy. Thursdays she gets a break, but I do a ladies Bible study that evening. I have been feeling guilty about not devoting much time to stretching her left hip as I had vowed to do. I made some time for it last night, and she still prays every night that her left leg will get stronger. It is kind of a Catch 22 with the crutches. They make her so much faster and more functional, but she is essentially ignoring her left leg and using her right leg and 2 arms to run with the crutches.
A friend of a friend is a brilliant doctor in Pennsylvania and agreed to look over all of Jian’s medical records at no cost when we were trying to decide what to do about surgery on the left hip. It is his opinion that if we do it, it will require months of recovery, be very traumatic, and she will still likely always need her crutches in order to keep up with everyone due to the nerve damage. So for now, surgery is not in our plans. I will continue to help her work on it when we have the time and energy, but mostly for now in our spare time, we are playing together and building a relationship, which I am sure she wishes we had been doing more of all along. Live and learn. Do the best you know how at the time. And I am just thankful that she is so patient and forgiving of this new mother of hers. Little by little, we are finding our groove.