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September 6, 2012 / paperkids

Living in the moment

After I tucked Hayden in for the night, I sat on the couch with Emma.  Jared’s working nights now and so it was just her and I.  When’s it’s quiet like this, it’s the perfect time to grab the black keyboard, cord dangling free, and try to have a chat with her.

These days, it’s not so easy to find those moments.  Emma would rather spend time in her room with the door shut  watching videos on her ipad or playing with her toys, arranging them here and there around the room.  I wonder what she’s thinking and imagining with those little figurines and a part of me wants to play too.  She now knows how  to say “go away” in her best voice and since she’s using her words so nicely, how could I not comply.  And these days it’s hard to get her to type – or want to type, that is.  She seems very preoccupied and it makes me wonder how I used to get so much out of her.  What happened to all the mother daughter sharing that we used to have?  And when she does type, I’m not surprised when it begins with a “you -“.  Oh great! think.  What’s it going to be this time?   But still I support her arm lightly, barely touching her really, and patiently wait as she slowly types out each brutal word.  Then I can reprimand her for her disrespectful comment.

All in all, she’s just really growing up.

Yet everyday we still have a fleeting moment where I pull out the keyboard and scurry after her as she flits around the room (probably to get away from yours truly).  May 29th marked the two year anniversary of our breakthrough with Emma. She was nine years old and I finally had my first real conversation with her.  What a life changing moment that was!  So even when she makes a sarcastic remark, a little part of me cries tears of joy inside.

But getting back to tonight’s chat on the couch….

Me:  “Emma, you sure had a rough morning, but I guess you recovered okay, huh?  Why were you so upset?”

Emma:  I felt especially tired

Me:  “Yeah, I figured you might be tired.”

Emma:  elementary school is hard

I smirked and silently wondered whether there was sarcasm in her words.

Me:  “But are you sleeping a little better in this house?”

Emma:  yes

This is the first week in our new rental house (hallelujah!!!!) and being here makes me wonder how I survived this past year in the two bedroom apartment (we lovingly called “The Siren House” because it was right next to the police station).  Jared and I slept in the living room to give the kids their own rooms since they wake up quite a bit at night.  And so this four bedroom with a huge yard feels like a dream.  And it’s so peaceful here.

Me:  “Hey Emma, did I ever tell you how you did on your Star testing?  You did really well.  What do you think you did better in, math or language arts?”

Since Emma was typing so beautifully tonight and with such speed and interest, I decided to just fire off as many questions that came to mind.  I  recently got her testing back from school.  It’s basically the state performance assessment and in reality, maybe it should mean more to me, but it doesn’t.  All students take it although hers is a special alternative test.  I must admit, I’m not sure how they test or on what.

Emma:  Usually I don’t test well because of the autism

Oh God.  It was time to put on my super-parent hat and  try to find some really perfect words to say.  But I always just seem to ramble.

Me:  “Yeah, I know you can’t show them all you can do.  But you know what, Emma, tests are not everything.  We know that right?  Plenty of people are horrible at tests and especially sometimes the really smart ones.  I don’t know.  Tests are not for everyone.  I studied many things and took many tests and I honestly don’t remember a lot of what I learned.  But you did well.  And by the way, you scored slightly higher in math.”

I rubbed Emma’s head and watched her face go through an array of funny facial expressions, sticking her tongue out and doing all sorts of things with her large blue eyes.  She’s been having a lot of compulsive  and odd behaviors lately and these behavior come and go and change.

Me:  “Emma, are you doing that on purpose?  What are those faces?”

I kept my voice chipper, but even as I asked it, I knew that it was most likely one of those body movements that she couldn’t control and therefore basically a stupid question.  I’d asked her this so many times you’d think I’d get it already.

Emma:  just living in the moment

HA!!!  I literally laughed out loud!

Me:  “What?!!!  Haha Emma!!  You are too funny.  Living in the moment?  Like the Jason Mraz song?”

Emma:  yes

Me:  “Wanna hear it?”

Emma:  yes

I put on the song and watched Emma rock and sway and dance across the room.  She’s been smiling so much this week in the new house.  In fact, I’d say she’s had the easiest time of it and I love to see the big smile across her face.  Today she even ran in the rain in the back yard like some magical fairy.  I sang along to the song and tried to get her attention to dance with me, but before I knew it, she had taken flight up the stairs.  Just living a new moment, I guess.

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9 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Tim Walker / Sep 6 2012 8:52 am

    sounds like the new home is bringing out the best in emma, keep on keeping on, God bless Tim

  2. lynn states / Sep 6 2012 9:54 am

    My God, Sabra! I LOVE your writing! This piece was wonderful.

    Sent from my iPhone

  3. JR Anderson Photography / Sep 6 2012 1:38 pm

    Love it!

  4. Dena Murphy / Sep 6 2012 3:41 pm

    I don’t get to see you guys enough & it’s always pretty wild when we’re all together. But, I read your posts and I feel like I’m in those private moments with you guys, & I feel closer to you every time I do. Thanks for sharing all of these special stories!

  5. Amanda / Sep 6 2012 4:19 pm

    Your story is so inspirational. Keep up the hard work! I am rooting for you and your family!

  6. Lisa / Sep 6 2012 4:20 pm

    A beautiful lesson! I swear, the things I’ve learned from that child through what you share on your blog–thank you for sharing Emma’s wisdom!

    • paperkids / Sep 6 2012 6:40 pm

      Lisa, thank you so much for sharing that. Emma continues to inspire me:)

  7. Katie / Sep 6 2012 4:26 pm

    That smile I saw on Emma’s face was enough to keep me back in that moment for a while. I don’t know when I’ve seen her so happy. Love the new home, love your writing, love you!

  8. Texanna / Sep 6 2012 5:33 pm

    🙂

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