It’s Thanksgiving day….Hands down, my most favorite holiday filled with food, family, friends, and football. A rockin’ dance party has even been know to erupt at our gatherings. It’s a time to reflect. A time to slow down. A time to be grateful….
Earlier this month, I found myself sitting in a new eye doctor office with Adam and Lacey due to a change in insurance. I hate switching doctors of any kind; especially with these two children. Between the mounds of new patient paperwork, transferring an obscene amount of records, and having to explain their tedious heath histories; I’m shocked that I have made it this far, without an ulcer.
Given that our new eye doctor had never met Adam before, I asked her if she would like for me to come in or if she would like to wait and see… Adam immediately chimes in and says:
“Mom’s boincy bouncy butt needs to sit in the ‘wait and see’ chair”
The doctor looked at me and all I could muster up was…. Long story….
This was only after our new young doctor came out just minutes earlier after examining Lacey with a very alarmed look on her face. She explained to me that Lacey’s vision has gotten better over the past year and that she wanted to dilate her eyes for she is fearing it could be a sign of diabetes. I was immediately left to sink back down into my ‘wait and see chair’. I began to imagine my daughter’s life with multiple glucose level checks, calloused finger tips, and daily insulin injections. As I told myself that we would adjust to this new life, just like we have adjusted to so many other things, the eye doctor walked out literally a minute later trying to stifle a giggle…… Lacey had two pair of contacts in each of her eyes….Never mind the fact that my daughter had just driven Adam and I to the office….
The Ketchams are known to make such memorable first impressions…. It’s just another day in my life with my ‘bookends’.
A few weeks later, I continue to sit here, still a bit speechless. Between the two of them, I have been in this situation often. As their mother, I have had to sit in the “wait and see chair” more times than I can remember…quite frankly, more times that I have ever wanted to. There is a reason that we jokingly call Lacey and Adam the “bookends”. They are the truly the alpha and the omega; the beginning and most definitely the end to our family. There is a reason that I have a crevice in the middle of my forehead that Botox would never even begin to fix. Lacey and Adam are 4 years, 9 days and 8 hours apart to the minute. And they are so alike in so many ways.
I look back on Lacey’s 15 years and Adam’s 11 years and I wonder sometimes how I haven’t run for the hills or I have not had a nervous breakdown. I look back at their unbelievably picky and ritualistic eating habits. I have cooked more mac and cheese, chicken tenders, butter noodles than I ever want to admit. They both swear that Kraft spiral mac and cheese tastes different than the traditional Kraft mac and cheese and the traditional Kraft mac and cheese tastes different from any of the character Kraft mac and cheese. Adam has eaten bags of frozen green peas in one sitting….for at least the past 5 years. And then there’s Lacey who is convinced that she hates all fruits and vegetables….which is humorous, for unless I rope her and tie her down, I’m fairly certain that she has never really tried a fruit or vegetable. The doctors just keep telling me to be patient. It will eventually change. And I continue to sit with my boincy bouncy butt in the ‘wait and see chair’.
And then there’s school. The subject that is the topic of daily conversations in our house. I have officially spent months, it not years of my life meeting with teachers, sitting in IEP meetings, writing and rewriting their IEP goals and sitting back ‘waiting and seeing’ if this new strategy, this new approach, this new idea will help them to gain success in their academic settings. Sometimes it works, but there have been countless times that we have to go back to the ‘drawing board’, try a new approach, and then return to the ‘wait and see’ chair. It’s a never ending process. Meanwhile, my boincy bouncy butt continues to sit in that wait and see chair.
As I look back over these years, I realize that the amount of times that my boincy bouncy butt has sat in the ‘wait and see chair’ with the ‘bookends’ has caused so much worry; so much angst, and many, many sleepless nights. It has it has also taught me so much more. And for that….I am truly grateful.
I waited for over the first 3 years of Lacey’s life for her to speak more than 3 words at a time. After raising my concerns to her pediatrician, we were finally referred to speech therapy. After weeks of evaluations, she began twice a week therapy. Her speech therapists worked tirelessly with her to catch her up to her peers. I learned so much about patience while my butt was in that ‘wait and see’ chair. For that I am grateful
In the 5 years that I chased Adam’s autism diagnosis. We met with an insane amount of pediatricians, developmental pediatricians, allergists, geneticists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, all of who negated what I knew was autism. Finally, a neurologist put all of his pieces together and officially gave Adam a diagnosis. I learned so much about persistence while my butt was in that ‘wait and see’ chair. For that, I am grateful.
There was the neurologist whom I was referred to at a renown hospital in Chicago. She was ‘convinced’ that Adam did not have a seizure. We had visited the ER just 3 days earlier after we called the paramedics who observed symptoms which were suspicious of a seizure. Because Adam had thrown up, in the process, I was told that the ‘stomach flu and dehydration can present some strange symptoms’ and she ‘didn’t know what else to tell me’. Two days later, Adam had a 40 minute seizure that landed him in the hospital on a ventilator for 5 days. I learned so much about trusting my gut while my butt was in that ‘wait and see’ chair. For that, I am grateful.
Year after year, I raised concerns that Lacey possibly had a learning disability, and year after year, I was told by her school team that it was ‘too soon to tell’ and that her grades were ‘too good’ to label her with a learning disability. Somehow, 6 years went by and suddenly she left 8th grade reading at barely a 5th grade reading level. After taking her to an educational psychologist, we discovered that she has dyslexia. She has spent the last 18 months working after school with her tutors, killing herself to catch up. All the while, never complaining. I have learned so much about resilience while my butt has been in that ‘wait and see’ chair. For that, I am grateful.
So today, as I am preparing to spend Thanksgiving day with family and friends; I am reflecting on my past year. I of course am thankful for everyone in my life. I am grateful for the things we have, our jobs, and our home. But most of all, I am grateful for the journey that my ‘Bookends’ continue to navigate. A journey which has taught me patience, persistence, trusting my gut, and resilience. A journey that I am excited to continue as my boincy, bouncy butt sits in the ‘wait and see’ chair.