Truth: I have 1020 photos and 52 videos saved on my iPhone.
I have photos dating back to the day Sebastian was born, the day he stood up on his own, the day he took his first steps, and everything in between. Most of the videos are of Lola and her quest to walk independently. Each one brings me right back to the moment and I can feel the pride in my voice over and over again. I have all of the photos and videos saved on our computer and countless other places because I have this incessant fear of losing them. And even though I know I could easily find them all, I still save them on my phone. I can’t explain why because I’m not quite so sure myself, but with school just around the corner for Lola (August 24th), I wanted to relive our summer and the easiest way to do that is to simply scroll through my 1020 photos.
Lola’s last day of school seems like ages ago. I remember worrying about what we would do to keep her stimulated, occupied, interested and thriving all summer. She had gained so many skills throughout the school year and our biggest fear was that she would lose some because of the change in her routine. But she’s Lola and I should have known better than to worry. Our little girl has blossomed this summer whether it be through her use of words, her ability to comprehend our expressions and requests, or her desire to show love to those around her. She’s blooming and I can’t wait for her teachers and therapists to see the little lady she’s become.
Now I have to admit this summer has not been full of happy smiles the entire time. Anyone can tell you having two young children can be difficult — add in a child with special needs and it gets even harder. Our kids just don’t sit still well. Every day Rob and I were home with them, we were figuring out some activity to do whether it was finding a new park, going on a road trip even if just to the store, or spending another afternoon at the pool. Our kids are more content when there is something to do. And I can hardly blame them. You can only read the same books so many times, color the same old coloring books, be thrown up in the air by dad and so on. We are longing for the day when we can spend an afternoon playing board games or we can take them to a movie. Yet the reality is that this may not be in the cards for Lola. She may not enjoy a trip to the movie theater or it may have to be on a night when the theater is open to children with special needs. A game of Life may not be what catches Lola’s attention and that’s OK too. We’ll adapt and do something she would enjoy. But for now, parks and pools are our best bet. You can see in this video what Lola would prefer to do everyday!
Lola and Sebastian are learning how to enjoy one another and play together. Their relationship has been a work in progress and from what I understand — that’s not too uncommon in young siblings. Whatever Sebastian has Lola wants and she will stop at nothing to conquer her prize. Sebastian has had to learn at an early age that he will need to be the big brother to Lola. There are times when Lola just doesn’t understand the dynamics around social etiquette especially when it comes to turn taking. She’s trying though and it’s getting better, but thankfully Sebastian is quick to adapt to her antics. I’m really proud of the little boy he is becoming. He has patience and compassion with Lola. It’s as if he understands her in a way that most people don’t. So as they’ve spent more time together this summer, we’ve started to see a bond grow between them. It doesn’t mean they don’t fight like cats and dogs, but their relationship is budding and it’s getting better each and every day.
Around the beginning of July, our doorbell rang in the early evening. Not expecting anyone, I curiously went to the door. And who was there? Lola’s bus driver, Terri and her kids along with Lola’s bus monitor, Toshua! If only I had known they were coming, I could have videotaped the pure joy Lola had on her face when I opened the door. The fact these two women took time out of their evening to stop by to check on Lola just meant the absolute world to our family. We caught up for over two hours and by the end of the evening, our bond was even stronger. The truth is these ladies love our daughter and they look out for her. Almost every week I received a text message from Terri asking how Lola was doing. It’s important to have champions for our child when she doesn’t have the ability to share how her day was or how her bus ride went. We knew Lola would be in good hands the very first day we met Terri and Toshua so we fought hard to get them back on Lola’s route and through a joyous text message at the end of July, our wish came true! We are so excited to see these two amazing ladies on Monday morning!
Now as much as we love our children, we are ready to get back to our old routine. Lola does better with a structured schedule so she can anticipate what’s to come. As much as she will go with the flow, she thrives in her routine and, truthfully, so do we. On Monday morning, the bus will come and sweep our girl away again. I remember the anxiety I felt the year prior, but that fear has subsided. I know Lola is in good hands on the bus and at school. This year I will beam with happiness because I know letting go means she is gaining her independence. We are so proud of Lola and all of her accomplishments. We can’t wait to see what this school year will bring!
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