24 May 2011

walking in place

Emma knows what I need. I sat down a week ago to start writing this post, thinking about how to sum up the whirlwind the past week had been, and she came and handed me the card I gave her for Easter. The musical card that, when you press it, plays "Walkin' on Sunshine."

I pressed it, and she beamed.

She was back 30 seconds later, and this time she tugged my hand, pulling me into her room, where she plopped onto the floor.

"What do you want, Em?"

She handed me her shoes, I set them in front of the appropriate feet and she put them on. And we went outside so she could ride her trike around the block. So I could blow bubbles for her to chase. So we could water the flowers (and each other, inadvertently).

When we came back in, I had some perspective.

I'm a terrible housekeeper. I'd rather pick up a book than a feather duster, and having a few dirty dishes in the sink doesn't bother me as much as it probably should. I go through cleaning binges every so often -- where once I get going, I find it impossible to stop until the whole house looks as good as the area I started with. (Clearly, it's much easier to not start.)

Follow-through can be a problem for me. Except when it comes to Emma.

For the past five months, I've been following through. And following up. And checking in. And freaking out. Appointments, paperwork, phone calls: none of them are my favorite things, but they've all had a purpose. And it paid off, at long (long) last.

Now Emma has an insurance policy that will pay for her to get applied behavior analysis. Here in town. At a center where someone's focus, every day, will be setting goals for Em and helping her reach them. Someone who's trained to work with kids like Em, in a one-on-one setting where she won't get lost in the shuffle.

Finally, finally, finally.

I lost sleep during the wait. I panicked on a regular basis that things wouldn't work out, that somehow I wouldn't be able to do this for her. But then the letter came. "Approved." I read it probably 17 times to make sure it was true, that the word I'd been waiting for was actually printed on the page.

I rode that high for a week, until another fairly major wrinkle presented itself. It felt like I'd run a marathon and exultantly crossed the finish line, only to be told there was another marathon ahead of me, and I had to run it that very moment.

I hate running, but I love my girl madly. I might be crawling by the time we get this all sorted, but the forward motion will continue. I will keep the promise I made a couple years ago, when I leaned my forehead to Emma's in the middle of the grocery store and told her we'd be okay. And that means I'll see this through, because I believe it's what she needs and it's my job to make it happen.

All the best of what she's done is yet to come. Just watch.