Thursday, October 19, 2006

Happy Birthday, Lexi

Today is my daughter, Alexa's 18th birthday! I cannot believe it as I write this! It's amazing how she has grown. I blogged about Miss Lexi awhile back, her milestones and all; and if this is maybe your first time around the blog, welcome, and thanks for dropping by. Grab a balloon, a piece of cake and sit back and relax - and please celebrate with us. For Lexi is indeed someone to celebrate. The purple is for her love of Barney! The obnoxious dinosaur as we've come to hate over the years. But she still loves him. She has too many Barney's to count in her room. Her room is a lovely yellow, which is her favorite color. It's also the color of one of her favorite foods: CHEESE. She loves cheese, and will just pack it in. Oh, the picture at the top is from her first birthday party, and the very first time she sat, unattended. She did fall flat on her face shortly after the picture was taken, which she did for about 6 months after, but it was the first time she did it alone. She did get a lot of toys, didn't she! I just can't get over her everytime I see her. Lexi lives in a group home, with 4 other girls who are not unlike herself. And she is quite happy there. It is a blessing, this home. The other girls are wonderful, too. They get excited when the kids, Frank and I are there. We have become an extension of family for them. One girl, B, comes with us for holidays, and she is Lexi's best friend. I used to dread her birthday when she was little and I was much younger, because I was reminded of what "should have been." It was such a hard time for me, I suppose I made it a hard time for myself without realizing it. I was thrilled with Amy's milestones, and my neices, of course; and when Alexa made her own, it was so exciting. But still, there was a sense of my own guilt and wonderment, of who she could have been. Thankfully, I don't visit those places anymore. On occassion, someone will ask, "Do you ever wonder what Alexa would be like if...." and well, yeah, of course! I think every Mom out there does about every child. But it's different now for me. I have peace with her disability. God placed her in my life, in our lives, because she needed us; and I suppose He knew we needed her as well. I watched this beautiful child struggle in PT as an infant and later a toddler, learning to roll, and sit and hold her head up. She needed to be taught these basic skills; we were told she'd never learn them, never DO them. She did. And then she'd drag herself from room to room on her belly - she was determined to get around, persistent. Eventually, she learned to get her bottom off the floor, it would sway, she'd roll over, but she wouldn't get frustrated, she'd just keep trying. She was so amazing. And she eventually learned to crawl. At around age 3, she was moving on her feet with the help of a walker with wheels, and there was no stopping this litle girl. She was fearless and fast! And the smile she had, it was truly amazing to watch her go. We were told she would never walk, or talk. But she did, by the time she was 5, she was going strong, no more walker. Sure, she'd fall on her knees when she'd go to fast; sometimes she'd just run on her knees, which she'd been doing for 2 years. I'd made her knee pads to save her knees from the constant bruising and scraping she was getting; she was relentless. She'd get back up and walk again - no complaining, just smiles, big and wide. Marisa helps out at school with the special kids now; in Alexa's former class at her school. She used to help at the middle school, and now she's helping at the jr high. She loves it, she has such a big heart for these children, and they adore her. She's hurt when other kids, the so-called "normal" ones, make fun of them; she usually snaps at them, the way only Marisa can. Good for her. I'm proud of her; I just hope she is remembering her manners, and not acting like them. We're planning a party for Lexi for Saturday; the kids are going to make little gifts for the girls and help with other favors. They love going to Lexi's house for the party. Equally, the girls love having them there. I still can't believe I have an 18 year old! I think I was just 18 years old not too long ago. Where does the time go? Wishing all pain-free days. deborah

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