Never Give Up!
Well, I’m not quite sure what has gotten into Jian this past week, but I am really happy about it! Every single day, she has done something new and shown huge improvements in confidence, strength and independence. On Wednesday, we went to her physical therapy appointment. I have been telling the therapist that I want Jian to feel comfortable carrying an item while using her crutches. He found a small plastic saucer with pretend food and asked her if she thought she could carry it across the room. Actually, what he said was, “I was going to see if you could do something, but nevermind. I think it will be too hard for you.” Smart man! She carried the saucer. Then she found a large, cafeteria-style tray and loaded it up with food. Then she added more food to a basket with handles. She insisted on carrying both across the whole therapy gym while using one crutch to support her left side. She went back and forth like this several times.
Then another girl came into therapy. She had surgery on her leg and was using crutches as a result. She was supposed to be working on walking up a ramp, but had stopped, hung her head and was crying and repeating, “I can’t do it. I can’t do it.” Jian didn’t know what to think of this mentality. She proceded to run laps around the girl with her crutches to show her how to do it. She even mentioned the incident the next day and talked about how she was confused by that girl giving up and saying she couldn’t do something. Jian’s school had a Fun Run fundraiser last Thursday. Each child was asked to run 40 laps. Last year, Jian was pulled in a wagon so that she wouldn’t be left out. This year, she walked all 40 laps! A neighbor was telling me that she saw Jian walking at the end of the fundraiser. Her classmates were walking with her. Jian got tired and fell down, and her friends hurried over to help her. Jian would “have none of it” my friend told me. She got herself up and continued to finish her race.
That evening I went to take our dog for a walk around the neighborhood. Jian insisted on going with me. Usually she rides her scooter or electric car. This time, she brought her crutches and kept up with us for the entire walk. When we got back inside, she told me that she was practicing to see how she would do while Trick-or-Treating. That girl! I don’t know how she comes up with these long term goals for herself. This past weekend we went to the beach for her dad’s birthday. She did a great job using her crutches all over, at the outlet malls, etc. A few times at a crowded restaurant, she would ask to hold my hand or even for me to pick her up, and so I did. I still provide this nurturing when she asks, but she does not ask very often.
Spending most of our time in Birmingham where lots of people know our story, and I was a little bit shocked at all of the looks and comments that we got in Florida. Several times, small children would stop, point, and ask their moms why Jian was walking “like that.” Most of the time, the mom would get embarrassed and stammer, “Come on! Turn around and eat your breakfast!” Jian would give me a look like, “I told you people would stare at me!” And I would just give her a wink and a rub on the head for reassurance. Later, I was thinking that maybe I should have stopped and calmly explained to the children that the crutches help Jian to walk. But at this point, I think that may have embarrassed Jian more. I want her to eventually feel comfortable calmly explaining to people and not feeling so self-conscious. As we were eating breakfast on the last morning, a man quietly walked past our table, squatted down and whispered to me that our daughter was beautiful and that he wanted to know our names so he could pray for us. Wow! When Jian asked what that man had said, it was all I could do to choke back my tears and tell her. What a little blessing she is to everyone around her. Here’s hoping for another good week!