10 July 2012

It is 8:40 p.m.  Julia and I have just finished reading and I turned out her light.  I make myself sit down to write because I have stuff to write about and have not been able to discipline myself to take the little free time that I have to jot my musings.  I am mentally dragging myself and tying myself to the keyboard in order to do it now.  
I am good.  Doing well.  Starting to be busy.  And more, able to be busy.
I don’t feel like reading back to check what I written and so I expect to repeat myself.  Bear with.
Insurance came through last minute.  Monday afternoon while we were driving back from the Indiana lake house.  We missed only one day of therapy and got right back on schedule.  It fills our week those 25 hours, some at home and a bit less than half at the clinic 20 minutes away.  
And it is almost two weeks ago that Julia told me she wanted to find out about Harry Potter -- yes, this is connected to clinic therapy.  I had no idea where she got that from.  She had formed a dislike for Harry Potter more than a year ago when she inadvertently  saw a preview for one of the last movies -- dark and scary.  Yes, indeed.  And she would not budge from that view.  But then she changed.  I wondered why but frankly, I was thrilled.  I love the books and have wanted an excuse to explore the newish website Pottermore (yes, I could have done it myself but it felt like a bit of a waste of time).  And I wouldn’t mind parsing the movies once again.  I had to buy another copy of the first book because although I know that I should have at least two, and maybe 3, I could not find them.  I bought it used and instantly it felt appropriate.  Well worn and touched.  
Even the first book is well beyond Julia’s reading level.  For decoding, she is probably around the beginning of third grade (her comprehension is not as far along), and HP is closer to middle of fourth grade.  But never to be dissuaded from what she sets her mind on, Julia is slowly reading the book.  I do most of the reading at night but if she wakes up before I do, she reads over the pages that we’ve already read together to practice.  The website is a great help in pointing out distinct scenes.  The movie -- we watched over three days and I am sure we will watch again -- also helps Julia with understand.  Maybe inference?  I ask questions about the movie like I do when she reads.  What does that character feel?  How does this character know that?  Why is he happy, sad, scared, etc?  Of course, Julia notices right away that Harry lost his mother and father.  She is immediately smitten.  She care more deeply for orphans than any other characters.  (And so, Disney and ever sappy kid movie will hold her captive).  
But to circle back to clinic therapy.  I did not know where or how Julia decided that now was the time for HP.  One of her clinic therapists mentioned that Julia is now participating in the HP discussion during snack time and we think that there was HP discussion before Julia decided to read the book.  
Influenced by her peers!!  How great is that!  I know, I know, I may come to eat those words.  For now, it is splendid.
My post-anniversary energy, which I attribute some to a turning of the time and some to a phone visit with Ellen, continues.  Ah, also some of the energy is about being able to move about better and better as my foot continues to heal.  I can walk around the house in bare feet for a short amount of time, and I can wear my stiff boot and move around all day with only a very small amount of discomfort.  
And so, I have cleaned the house, become acquainted with the basement once again, made of list of what needs to be done to finished my fallow year, made another list of what I’d like to do this fall in terms of the house, worked on the mountain of paperwork to get to use my post-intensive funds from the state, watered the garden!  And watered the garden!  It is dry and I am living surrounded by dying weedy flower beds.  Why do the weeds always look better than anything that I want to grow?
I have energy and I have found a few reasons to bound out of bed in the morning.  I have not lost loneliness but there is some corner that I’ve turned.  I never know if it will last another day.  I am grateful for each minute of it.
“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” ~Eckhart Tolle
I wrote from this a few days ago.  Ellen, my spiritual advisor, after I told her that what made me very sad wast that I feel like I am a better person than I was two years ago, said, that I couldn’t have gotten to this place without David dying.  She has said this in one form or another the last few months.  When she first said it, I told no one, not wanting to take it in to believe.  How can this be so?  How can I only get to this better place, become this improved person, as a result of my beloved’s death?  I mean, I am glad that I feel that I am heading in a direction that satisfies my soul’s longings.  Damned happy about it, really.  
I know I’ve written this in some form over and over.  Still, I need time to take it in.
Today, I had my first session as part of the research project entitled: Training Lay Trainers: A Strategy to Disseminate Care Coordination Skills to Families of CYSHCN (Children and youth with special health care needs).  There will be a few months worth of lecture/workshops during which the researchers will provide information, skills and strategies before they set us up with people who need training.  My first session was a catch up since the group (of about 12-15) met for the first time before I was part of the project.   The more I read and the more I hear, the more excited I get about this project.  I am actually getting some core training which will be very transferrable, and the content that I am learning which I will eventually be teaching contains hints and strategies for dealing well with the medical/social services/education communities.  None of that is wasted on me.  I can use it all.  I was pleased to discover that I instinctively do some of that was advised in the first session.  And I am not sure that it was really instinctive.  Law school helped to organize me a good deal and I use so many legal skills daily.  
I do wish that the sessions were in person and not via phone, but I am grateful not to have to drive to Milwaukee to attend the sessions.  Sooner or later, I will be paired with another lay trainer who is located in Southern Wisconsin and we will do at least some of the trainings together.   Team training is much less intimidating than solo work.
Julia and I are making it to the pool, even short visits, multiple times a week.  She is willing to practice what she is learning from Mary Beth.  My aim is to have her swimming at least 5 times a week, which is her two lessons plus three times with me.  This is not so much.  Much like Julia on a bike, she is able to learn single skills but has a hard time putting them together.  But she is willing to practice.  Her willingness is what keeps us going.  That, and my determination that she is going to learn what I consider important life skills.  
Two blessings to be sure.  
Ellen told me that my spirit guides were providing me with little encouragements along the way.  Not some guided path or even some divine signs, but little bits of encouragement to keep me going -- I can stumble and lose confidence so easily.  Grace if I was religious in that way.  Blessings.  Last  week, I received a check  in the mail.  It was my stipend for next year at UW.  Paid out of this years funds and so paid ahead.  It felt like a great act of confidence.  A gift that told me that “they” the LEND powers that be, could depend on my work.  The money is of course welcomed, but the confidence is even more so.  
Strange thing yesterday.  Julia and I were at the clinic a bit early and we were waiting in the parents’ waiting room.  A woman with whom I’ve spoken before -- her son is finished when Julia starts -- responded to Julia’s “conversation” starters.  We feel into conversation -- she had not heard many kids who asked for specific responses to be repeated.  Julia still does that occasionally, not as much as she used to in any way, and without consequences these days (like tantrums or melt downs).  Her son is still in the tantrum stage.  After we chatted for a few minutes, she began to complement me on how I was always so interactive and attentive to Julia.  She wants to be like me.  It stopped me cold.  I suddenly felt very guilty that she did not see how many times I lost patience with Julia, how many times I was frustrated.  But I thanked her.  Her son is  3 or 4.  She said her journey is stretching very far into the future.  I told her mine is too, but that we have come so far.  And I owned that coming more than I have before.  
Ok, I wrote.  Now I will let myself watch another episode of Drop Dead Diva.  Bribery does work.   Oh, no, it is not bribery when the treat is given after the task.  Incentives!  That’s it.  Incentives.

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