Monday, March 9, 2009


I hadn't wanted to post over the last week because I'm just tired. Bone tired. Exhausted. Pooped. Turns out my little germ magnet has Influenza Type A and I probably gave it to her last week. Her cough sounds bad, but isn't frequent. She had a high fever yesterday but she's just warm today. Happy as a clam even though she's sick as a dog. I think I'm going to call this clam-dog syndrome.

These are also unexpected blessing days. When I dropped of Kate's prescription at our local beleaguered WalMart, they put a rush on it and told me to come back in an hour. Kate looked like she was ready to collapse in exhaustion and I felt about the same--but what else can you do?? So I decided we would use the time to enjoy something special and recharge. Spoiling time!! Ice cream, cokes, Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs and a happy mommy and daughter--tired still, but not as bad.

As soon as we were done with our treat, we remembered the birthday party Kate has this weekend. The birthday queen is Kate's chaperone and companion in Kindergarten--an unrecognized benefactor (and beneficiary) of inclusion. It was a delight to see Katie enjoy going through the toy aisle with her friend, not herself, in mind. In the end, she was surprisingly decisive--it will be the Barbie on a bicycle instead of the Cinderella and the bejewelled steed.

I often wonder how much Katie understands. Her language still has so far to go. It would be easy to assume that there is so much she misses. I'm continually delighted by how much she catches. The local Down syndrome association had their annual clinic this weekend and it pained me to explain to the university speech researcher how little nuance we get from Kate. It seems like asking the question, "What do you like best about your friend?" is akin to asking "What is the primary geological formation on the moon?" We've been torn as to whether to move her forward with her classmates into 1st grade or keep her in Kindergarten (again--3rd time) to give her a chance to be able to achive more before moving ahead. She's still spotty on her colors. She sounds out 3 letter words, but barely speaks full sentences on her own. Memorize the word "of"?? Does she even use it yet? And yes, Katie, 16 does belong in the number line regardless of your preferences on it. As the researcher described working on conceptual frameworks, it felt like we still have so far to go. Then Katie actually came into the room and after about 2 minutes of interaction, the researcher said, "This is not at all what I envisioned from your description--her prognosis for next year is really good." So the details are still spotty--the gestalt is in place.

One of the Senior Associates at our office has been enthralled by the book, A Whole New Mind, by Daniel Pink. The endorsement on the front of the book is euphoric: "This book is a miracle. Completely original and profound!" He uses Left Brain/Right Brain neurological concepts to put forth the thesis that it is those right-brain activities, supported by their left brain underpinnings that will help you succeed, win the day, bring back the life to our searching world. The neurology wasn't new. The concept that most low level rote technical folk can be replaced by a machine isn't particularly surprising. The pathways to stimulate and grow the 6 "new" essential senses have all been around for awhile. I'm glad that people are beginning to recognize the need for whole brained thought--it has often felt like it was only recognized as hair-brained.

The most interesting point he makes in the book is a need for transcendence that has arisen out of our affluence. I've been praying that this would be so and watching as it happens. We have satisfied all of our physical needs and nearly all of our wants, and still find ourselves wanting. I see what Katie can't do and hurt for her, hoping that there is more--that there can be more. Ecclesiastes 3:11 has been my life verse for over a decade now and it's interesting how often it shows how profound God brought Solomon to be:

"He (God) has made all things beautiful in His time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men yet they cannot fathom the scope of it from beginning to end." (my parphrase)

So it's ok to wait to see what will happen--He will make things beautiful on his timetable, not ours. The details are important, but may not tell the whole story. In the end, the point of view that will matter is His--we just won't get it all, even if He has set the desire and overall understanding in our hearts in the first place. There have been times in my life when I've understood the big picture and where we fit in it. It didn't make things any easier. The only thing that made it truly ok is the knowledge that we are loved profoundly and that will never change. I am not transcendent, but I know the One who is and He knows me and that makes eternity my friend as well.

Tricia (and Kate)

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